- Union Budget might be a great time to rationalize your food budget.
- There are some hacks to reduce your food spending drastically.
- A trip to the farmer's market every week might save you a lot of money.
But there are some hacks and tricks to minimise your food expenses and bring them down drastically. Here are some that you can follow easily starting now:
1. Take Out Time To Cook
The process of bringing down your food expense is likely to work best if you try to forgo the temptation to eat out very often. Take some time out to prep your meals for the next day, at the start and end of every day and pack in home cooked food for work. Meal preps take not more than an hour or so every day, but it's definitely worth the amount of money it will save you, at the end of the month.
Prepping your own meals also encourages a cycle of healthy eating and makes you more conscious about the amount of calories that you are consuming every day. If that seems like too much of a stretch, then you might consider hiring a good cook to make your meals for you. Paying the home cook is still going to be cheaper than ordering meals from restaurants or eating out every day.
2. Learn To Cook With Leftovers
Whether it's leftover dal, leftover dough or leftover rice and noodles, you can make use of it all. All you need is a little creativity and a few YouTube videos to help you along with the process of fashioning something yummy out of those leftovers. The idea of cooking with leftovers might not be appetizing for everyone, but it saves you a lot of money that would go to waste, if you simply threw that stuff away. Moreover, it will also make you conscientious about how to control portions while cooking for the day.
3. Take A Weekly Trip To Farmer's Markets
This is one thing that is a win-win for everybody. You get cheap and fresh fruits and vegetables at these markets, and the farmers are able to get a better price for their fresh produce, due to the absence of middlemen. Ordering vegetables from online grocery stores or over the phone from your local subzi-wallah might seem easier and more convenient, but it's certainly costing you more.
4. Use Your Oils Judiciously
Healthy edible oils like olive oil are quite expensive. Reserve these for dishes where the flavor of the oil is going to be a key part of the dish. Keep a cheaper vegetable oil for the rest of your dishes where the oil's flavor doesn't matter much. Use oil very judiciously and keep its amount to a minimum. It's healthier and saves you the need to buy a bottle every 15 days.
5. Make Your Dairy And Fresh Produce Last Longer
There are tips and tricks to make your dairy and vegetables and fruits last longer. In case of dairy, buy only milk in quantities that are appropriate for use within a day or two. If you think your milk is not going to be consumed within that time, freeze it in manageable one-pint portions and then defrost it when you need to use it. For vegetables, always take them out of the plastic wrapping and keep them in a separate basket.
For fruits and vegetables, there's a great way of cooking that utilizes every part of the produce, including peels, stems, leaves, flowers, etc. This way of cooking called the 'Root to stem' diet, is gaining traction all over the world, not just as a great cost-saving hack, but also because it's environment friendly and reduces waste generation. These are just some hacks to economise your food budget. Know of any simpler ways to effectively manage food expenses? Do let us know!