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Best Frugality Tips

Best Frugality Tips

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Published by: afields123 on Jan 16, 2012
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01/26/2014

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Best Frugality Tips? 
1
I guess the specifics will be local, but how much do you
buy bulk
?Do you have
sacks of beans and grains
at your house already? Do you get
sacks of winter ve
g, the kindof stuff you can keep at home? Example: I can get a sack
of onions
(10 kg) for about £4, which is cheaperthan buying a few at the supermarket where they are often several times as much, up to 10 p each.
Potatoes, beets, apples will store somewhere cool, and pumpkin-type squashes in some out-of theway corner indoors.
If you are able to run a fridge, find the people who
grow winter veggies
and buy them in bulk - fill a shelf of the fridge with
leeks
and you'll have a tasty treat for weeks:
leek and potato soup is amazing hotlunch that will be in demand around the neighbourhood, and a dish of sweated leek with (soaked,cooked) beans, flavoured up with a bit of creamed coconut, ginger and pepper ought to come up nomore than 37 p a portion even with a bit of bouillon and the spices.Buckwheat pancakes are great
if that grows near you,
mix the flour with an egg and some water,leave to stand, makes amazing wraps for lunches with some of a leftover bean thing.Porridge is a winner (think you in the USA call this 'oatmeal'
especially if you have managed to findsome seasonal fruit, or even with some
sultanas or raisins.
You can
get bags of whole oats fromfarmers, feed merchants etc
- ask if it's suitable for human consumption. cook the oats up in water thenight before, leave in plenty of water, boil up again in the morning.
Cabbage, carrot, and onion gives you a coleslaw raw or a stirfry if cooked.
I think if you can tackle asmuch as possible by buying a sensible quantity in bulk, then you don't need to skimp on the bits andpieces that help
make it tasty - salt, pepper, chillies, ginger, tamari, miso
- whatever works for you.Some of this kind of thing can also be bought in bulk and shared or preserved - chutneys etc, so it lastsround the year. A big bag of something can be a few quid up front, so split the cost with another familyif it's hard to raise it up front. Best wishes with it. Spread the word, we can eat more nutritious tastyfood, cheaper, and build up our local food system at the same time.Oh, and can you work out how to produce something from home as well? Even something small canwork well -
growing greens in boxes on a sunny windowsill works here, and we have 6 rescue hens inthe back garden (& their eggs work out much cheaper than the supermarkets') -
so we have stuff toshare with others as well.
2
As far as food choices go- you may be able to
get deals from local farmers on bulk purchases of itemslike root veggies and apples
that will store well(if it's fall where you are now) right now. Also- if youusually buy meat in small quantities, now may be the time to buy in a larger amount (although it will bemore $ at first,
getting a bulk amount from a local farmer, or splitting a half cow with a friends can getyou a better price than weekly purchases at the farmers market or organic grocery).
Gift giving can be homemade items like "free back rub" passes, small homemade toys, foods like zuchinibread, etc.
Cutting back on eating meat and buying more grains or root veggies
(do you have a local co-op thatsells bulk grain items) can also help the pocketbook and still be environmentally friendly.
Lentils, drybeans, etc
 
3
We have been tightening our budget substantially over the past couple of years. I am very much intolocal foods, local products, handmade everything. Unfortunately, it is sometimes a lot more expensive.Some things that I have done are to pretty much eliminate meat from our diet. We only would buy localorganic, and since I can't afford it now, we replace it with beans and lentils. I make all of our baked
 
goods as well. Bread is a whole lot cheaper (and tastier) homemade, and it also helps to heat up yourhouse if you are dialing back on the heat (which we are). We are members of a winter and summer CSA.The winter CSA is especially important for us as we don't know/have the space to store the winter vegthat we can in Maine. It is a large cost up front, but ends up only costing us $18/week for 20 weeks,which is way less than what I would spend at the farmers' market for good quality vegetables.We also have gone down to one car, which may not be a possibility for you, but since I stay at home withmy kids it makes sense for us. We sold one of our cars, increased the deductible on the other carinsurance and also our home owners insurance.For entertainment we rent movies from the library, and occasionally rent from redbox for $1/night. Ialso stopped buying books (hard for me) and instead put together my large reading list and request all of the books through inter-library loan at our local library (which includes books from every library in thestate of Maine).It isn't easy to cut back, but we make it work. Spend more dinners by candlelight, cancel the cable, readtogether, play more board games, and eat a lot of soup and homemade bread :-) Hope this helps!Posted by:Heather|December 1, 2011 1:51 PM 
4
You might have a friend, neighbor or relative nearby that you can do bulk shopping with. Often, you canfind deals if you buy in bulk or buy online -- but it's hard to have that cash up front. If say, threehouseholds buy 100 lbs. of oats, that's a little more doable than you buying it all on your own.I realize that local farmers are important to you as well, so perhaps you could discuss with those farmersany foodstuffs that you could buy in bulk from them, or perhaps have a smaller CSA box. Or, perhapsoffer to do more work to help out -- I don't know if getting out to a farm is an option for you, nor if youare currently in a condition to do manual labor, but it might be worth pursuing.And to bring back the neighborhood option -- try to arrange soup nights (where everyone bringssomething like stone soup) or a potluck night where everyone brings something small, and you can eatmore variety than you expected. I find that being cheap is incredibly difficult alone, but is manageablewith friends.Good luck!Posted by:Tegan|December 1, 2011 2:13 PM 
5
Do not go shopping. Go necessity buying and pack your own food for lunch. For every one new itembrought back to the house, two old items must be eliminated.Posted by:RickyPics|December 1, 2011 3:07 PM 
6
I love these sorts of posts that throw down the frugality gauntlet to readers. We're facing a similarsituation next year, with my husband's job likely disappearing. It's lovely that your reader has beenputting money towards local farms and ethical consumption. The challenge will be how to hold on to asmuch of that as possible, while on a tighter budget.My recommendation is to get to know a few of those local farmers you've supported in the past - as wellas you possibly can. Once you have an acquaintance bordering on friendship, see if you can barter forsome of their goods. Farmers are very busy people, and they too could use some help to makemealtimes more streamlined. I've been able to barter chicken and lamb stock for the bones needed toprepare it. My farming friend gives me bones, I make and can stock, and we each get to keep half theresults. She'll also give me pork jowls that her customers pay for with the half or whole hogs they buy,but don't want. I cure them and make guanciale. She doesn't even want half the cured jowls backanymore. Sometimes other farmers have simply given me the weird bits, like tongue or organs. In thisway I get to eat pasture raised meats for next to no money at all. And eating the weird bits is ethical and
 
respectful of the animal! I also melt down the pork trimmings and use pork fat instead of butter forfrying my breakfast egg. Butter I have to pay for, whereas the pork fat is free. Our diet has changed too,so that we stretch even this small amount of meat pretty far. If you have other skills, offer to barterthem with any farmers you run across. I've never once been refused when suggesting a barter withfarmers. Can you bake bread, make nice lacto-fermented vegetables, tomato sauce, hearty soups?Those could all be barterable. And even if you can't barter them, they're useful frugal skills!Posted by:Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife|December 1, 2011 3:13 PM 
7
We have been broke for years, due to my husband being disabled. One way I cut down on the foodbudget is buy locally grown, organic staples (brains, beans, honey, oil, raisins ) in bulk at a local foodcoop. They don't have a store. Instead, you order on line and then go to someone's house to pickeverything up on a set day. I am able to buy locally grown, grass fed beef through them for a lot lessthan at the store. And I purchase things like "Meaty" beef bones for soup. At the time, it seems like a lot.But compared to buying in small amounts, this is much cheaper.Luckily, we have an independent grocery chain "Hen House" that specializes in locally grown, organicfood. Shockingly, the local grass-fed organic meat is often the same or cheaper than the factory farmedmeat right next to it.I garden a lot, and I prefer the Food Not Lawns method, which is pretty cheap to do. I also space thingsfarther apart and stick to disease and drought-resistant varieties so that I don't have to water as much(if at all) or spray.I bake our bread and am learning to make a lot of my own dairy products. That can cut down on coststoo.I know how that goes with not buying the books. I'm in the same boat.Good luck. I sure hope things get better for you soon.Posted by:Eleanor @ Planned Resilience|December 1, 2011 3:14 PM 
8
If you have the tools and are willing to acquire (or already have) the skills, make stuff yourself. Not justbaked goods, but other things as well.For instance, I make my own Christmas cards, and have done so for years. If you have a simple artprogram on your computer (I have Adobe Illustrator because I sometimes use it at work, but there arecheaper if less powerful options out there), you can throw in a few pictures and a greeting and havesomething personalized and made to your specification for a fraction of what Apple et al. charge to usetheir templates (and comparable to what it would cost if you buy the generic cheap Christmas cardsfrom a store).There are other possibilities, too. Knit your own mittens and scarves. Make simple toys out of wood(there are a few people here in northern New England who do this for a living). If you had the foresightto keep an old sewing machine around, you can even do some simple practical clothing (I rememberwhen there were stores that sold patterns for making clothes--are they still around?). Et cetera.Posted by: Eric Lund |December 1, 2011 3:36 PM 
9
I agree with everything Heather has said, and would add that it is important to know how to cook fromscratch. As you will hopefully be buying whole foods in bulk, it can get boring pretty quickly if you onlyknow how to prepare rice and beans a couple of ways. A good whole foods cookbook is a goodinvestment.As for Christmas, try to avoid the hype. It can help to talk with your family and set a price limit on buyingpresents, or do stocking stuffers only. With little kids this is easy, with teens not so much. Take care.Posted by:Sal|December 1, 2011 4:01 PM 

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