Tips to Save MoneybyJagFarlane©
Yup, another article written on how to save you money, but it's such an important topic that it's worth at least another look at. I realize a lot of folks are just now looking at how to save themselves some money but really I think we should just work the ideas into our everyday lives. What I'm going to discuss here is what should be a fairly simple way to put aside some money and can, if you wish it to, have the ability to help make your life a bit healthier. That way, of course, is by cooking your own meals. The other way to cut down on the bills, for those already accustomed to cooking, is to learn to use everything.
I think it kind of scares me, not at the number of people who go out to eat all the time, but the number of especially younger generation that can't cook to save their lives. Cooking used to be considered a basic skill and yet for some reason or another the amount of people that do cook seems to have gone down. A significant part of the reason that it seems to be a declining trend is the amount of time that people have available to them. We are all very busy and I am no different in that aspect, I assure you, but if saving money is your goal you'll need to learn to make the time for it.
How much money can one save by cooking? Well in a bit of an over the top, but very real demonstration this past Valentine's Day my significant other and I had a surf and turf dinner which we cooked ourselves. The menu included porterhouse steaks, lobster tails, baked potatoes, and grilled summer squash. The total sum we paid for this was under twenty-five dollars and a comparable meal at the local chain steakhouse would have easily run us sixty-eight dollars plus drinks, tax, and tip. Huge difference but remember the restaurant has to pay rent, utilities, taxes, salaries, and still make a profit so that's part of what you're paying for.
One more advantage of cooking our own meal was being able to avoid the dinner rush at the restaurants. Even on non-holidays restaurants can get slammed during the dinner hours making for long waits and of course you always run the risk of getting bad service.
But I've digressed too much, at any rate learning to cook is the first step in saving a lot of money, even just every day cooking can save quite a bit of money. Ever tried to make spaghetti? Seriously it's as easy as putting noodles into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes and heating up a jar of sauce and significantly cheaper than going out to an Italian restaurant. Stews are just mixes of vegetables, some spices, and some sort of cut up meat. Throw it in a crock pot on low for eight or so hours and there is dinner. Do yourself a favor and just look up some easy, basic recipes give them a try and enjoy.
For those already familiar with cooking there are two things I'd suggest trying, cooking with more basic ingredients and using everything that you paid for. It's a bit scary when one thinks about how many useable items we throw out because we're not sure what to do with it. Also, a lot of prepared foods tend to cost quite a bit more than buying and using more basic ingredients and with a little extra time we can save quite a bit of money.
Using basic ingredients is a first step, learning to make our own pancake mix and breads for example. It really doesn't take much longer than pulling out the bag to make pancake batter and in the case of bread, machines can make the process much smoother and quicker. You'll also find that by making your own mixes and such that you're cutting out a lot of unnecessary ingredients that manufacturers put in for appearance and long term preservation.
The bigger issue I think is in learning to use everything, the biggest example is in the use of bones. Most people I know will throw out things like the bones from a ham or a chicken. The ham is a little easier to work with so I'll go over that one but the basics can be used on any other sort of bone, it may just take more work.
The ham bone and often the chunk of fattier meat around it tend to be thrown out after people serve the preferred cuts off the ham. Why this is, well I suppose people just don't think about what they could do with it. Instead of throwing out the bone, throw it into a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Allow the bone and water to simmer for a few hours until you've made a nice, ham broth. Take the bone out, return in a little bit of small pieces of ham, a bag of rehydrated split peas, some cut up carrots and potatoes, and you have a split pea soup. Not a difficult task by far and it makes use of a part that most people throw out.
Really, saving money is something I think just about everyone is interested in and honestly there are so many ways to do it that it would take a series of books to go over it. I hope though, that you take away a few ideas or at least have become interested enough to start looking around at things in a different light as to what they could be used for. Cooking just happens to be one of the largest things that many people can take up changes in to save them money. Thanks for reading and good luck in the kitchen!