Here are some of my favorite tips I found while I was searching the archives of my old Eating Well on a Budget Column-
1. Don’t throw away all those vegetable peelings; they make wonderful stocks for soups and gravies. If you do find yourself with some odds and ends, but haven’t got time to make stock, put everything in a large freezer bag and keep it in the refrigerator. You can add peelings and trimmings to the bag throughout the week and make up a large batch of stock when you have more time.
2. Water can keep the hunger pains away but sometimes it can be boring. Some afternoons if I feel tempted to open the refrigerator door I’ll make myself a cup of tea. There are a lot of varieties that are naturally sweetened; one is the Good Earth tea. It satisfies my sweet tooth and keeps me going until dinnertime.
3. Photo albums make great homemade cookbooks. They’re also easy to stand on the counter top, and simple to clean if a page gets splashed while you’re cooking.
4.If you have trouble peeling thin skinned foods like kiwi and ginger and end up wasting half of the food, try peeling them with the back of a spoon.
5. While you’re buying pots of herbs for use in the kitchen, consider buying some to fill out your perennial garden. Some produce beautiful and long lasting blooms. They’re often less expensive than perennials and a lot more hardy, which makes your gardening dollar stretch a lot further.
6. Always check in the inside of boxes (cereal, rice mixes etc.) before you toss them, sometimes you’ll find money saving coupons printed on them.
7. Be sure to visit your favorite food company’s Web site. You’ll often find ideas for meals, upcoming specials and best of all, money saving coupons.
8. When you’re making edible gifts and need items like spices, flour etc. a great place to shop is at a warehouse store because most of these items are sold in bulk.
9. Don’t be tempted to buy prepackaged snacks, like pots of yogurt, applesauce and peanut butter. Buy some small plastic containers and use them every day. It’s easy enough to pop them in the dishwasher along with the dishes from the evening meal… and just think about how much money you’ll save over time. (Here’s what I”ve been doing the last couple of weeks. I bought some Greek yogurt with fruit and kept the containers and now I buy a tub of the yogurt and also some fruit spread and fill myown containers.)
10. Did you know certain fruits and vegetables release gases that speed up spoilage? Two vegetables that should never be roommates are onions and potatoes. Keep them separate and you’ll extend their shelf life.
11. If you got over enthusiastic with the saltshaker and end up with a salty soup, don’t throw it away. Instead try adding a potato to the mixture, it acts like a magnet for the salt and makes the soup edible again.
12. You can make lots of quick meals using cooked chicken. Lots of delis sell rotisserie chicken for under $5. Or at the weekend you can cook a couple of chickens, take the meat off the bone, chop or slice it and use it throughout the week for things like pasta and salad dishes that are easy to throw together.
13. A great way to save money and calories is to serve your salad dressing on the side. Use it as a dip rather than a dressing, and you’ll probably end up using a lot less.
14. Don’t let your coupons sit there and expire. At the beginning of each month, pull out the ones that expire at the end of that month and work out your week’s menu with the coupon items in mind.
15. When the weather gets hot, one of my favorite breakfasts is a smoothie. One way to save money is to buy bulk bags of frozen fruit. (I bought this one today in Walmart for $7.22. I use about 1/2 cup of fruit per smoothie along with milk and yogurt and it’s a healthy low cost breakfast or snack)