If you have started making changes you are on your way to having a rainy day savings account. Â There is another area to consider. That is food. Groceries are a big expense for most people. Here are some ways to change the way you eat and save money.
First, start cooking from scratch instead of eating out or bringing dinners in. If you live where you can have a garden please do so. Besides saving money you will gain health benefits from eating better food. If you can’t have a garden look for local farm markets in the area where you live. OrganicÂ foods are more expensive and better for your health. But some people can not afford the extra cost. In that case buy what is freshest at the farm market and wash the fruit and vegetables thoroughly to remove any pesticide residue before storing or eating them. Buying more than you need and canning or freezing will save you money too.
If there are no farm markets buyÂ fruit and vegetables at the supermarket and watch for sales. I have noticed some stores reduce prices on fresh food just before the weekend on Friday nights. When there are mark downs buy a lot and preserve it. Use coupons at the grocery store only for the things you normally use. A sale is not a sale if you don’t need the item. Stop buying frozen and packaged dinners and canned foods unless on sale very cheap. Canned food from the storeÂ should be saved for emergencies only.
Shop for potatoes, squash, carrots, turnips, cabbage, beets, onions, garlic, brown rice, whole wheat flour, whole wheat spaghetti, corn meal, oat meal, dry beans, raisins, dates, dark brown sugar, nuts, flax seed, honey, milk, olive and sun flower oil, white and apple cider vinegar and coffee and tea if you drink it.
Buy in season only, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, oranges, grapes, pears, peaches, lemons, rhubarb, strawberries, and apples. I buy bananas only when over ripe and marked down. Then I mash and freeze them to use in baking. We have stopped using butter because it is so expensive here. We don’t eat margarine because it isn’t natural. We have learned to eat our food plain or seasoned with pepper and herbs. I use olive oil mixed with cider vinegar and honeyÂ as a dressing for salads. I don’t buy any commercial dressings. Sunflower oil is used for baking. I don’t buy canola oil because it is genetically engineered I was told. Corn oil is getting expensive so I quit buying it too.
Flour is rising in cost so I bake less. Sometimes buying bread is cheaper than baking it yourself if it is on sale. Here bread can cost from $1.59 to $2.89 a loaf in the stores. When it doesn’t sell it gets marked down. I have bought five loaves of whole wheat bread for less thanÂ $5 when it was over a day old. Then I freeze it until we need it. I still bake muffins and cookies for Bill. We have our own wheatÂ but it doesn’t have enough gluten in it to hold together to knead. I mix boughten whole wheat flour with it for bread and muffins.
We only eat meat we raise but most people don’t have that option. Personally I don’t care for meat and eat very little. It has to do with not being able to eat animals IÂ see every dayÂ and get attached to! For protein I eat one egg three times a week, ten almonds every day and drink skim milk. Fish is also good protein if you can get it fresh. If you feel you must have meat then shop around for locally produced meat. Whether beef, chicken, other fowl, Â pork, lamb, or chevon cook it well done before eating it. If possible buy meat where the animals were free ranged and not put in feed lots. Also avoid processed meats as they are full of sodium among other things that are not good for you.
Here we eat plain food that is healthy. For breakfast we eat oatmeal every morning. I make a big pot full. To it is added a mixture of ground soy beans, almonds, cashews, and gloden flax seed as well as raisins and blue berries. Then I had just a little liquid honey or brown sugar and milk. It is kept in the fridge and lasts us three days. We don’t buy any boxed cereals.
Lunch varies from tomato and egg sandwiches to salad and hash brown potatoes. Supper we have lots of vegetables and sometimes meat. We drink herbal tea, milk and water. We only have juice if I make it myself or buy it on sale. Our diet isn’t fancy but we are healthy and seldom ever get sick with cold’s or flu. Avoiding packaged ready made foods will improve both you health and pocket book.
Those who live in a hot climate will have a differentÂ diet. You will probably have access to fresh fruits and vegetables all year. Lucky you!Â But try to get food grown without pesticides if you can.
One more area to save money on is transportation. Do you need to own a car or truck? If you live in a town where you can walk to everything or a city with public transit the answer is no. Rent a car for out of town trips and ride a bicycle or walk when not using a bus or taxi. Most people with families and jobs feel they need an automobile. Then find the most fuel efficient one you can afford and become a one vehicle family. Do your kids really need a lot of after school activities? Cut back and think local when it comes to sports so the kids can walk to where they want to go. Car pool to go to work and grocery shop. Walk and bike if you can. All the money you save can go into that rainy day bank account.
Once you have reduced expenses and debt and started to save how much do you need saved ahead? The answer is you need enough to pay the mortgage or rent, lights, heat, telephone, car expenses, food,Â and any insurances you have first for a month. When that is saved start savingÂ for a second and third month until you are at least six months ahead. If you lose you job you will be able to live until you find another job.
The big challenge is while the earnings are good do you have the self-discipline to get out of un-necessary debt, change your living habits and save money? FromÂ what I understand this world isn’t getting any easier to live in. Now is a good time to take control of your finances and life. Cut back and save. You will be glad you did.