How to cut your Monthly food budget

A lot of unmarried people don’t know where their monthly paycheck goes. The life where you don’t have to provide for dependents often leads you to careless spending.

I started putting on paper how much money I spend on food every day, because I knew that was where I was being the most wasteful: eating out, throwing away food that rots before I eat it, etc. By the end of the month I realized the sum was outrageous! I made it my goal to cut my food spendings by 25%, and here’s how I succeeded in making my plan work:

Organized grocery shopping twice a month

Instead of eating out every day, I decided to start shopping for groceries and cooking meals at least three times a week. My list of groceries always contains:

- Only enough fresh fruits and vegetables for 2-3 days

- Frozen peas, corn, different vegetable mixes, berries, and similar

      - Frozen chicken, sometimes frozen fish or seafood
      - Baking products (flour, baking powder, baking soda, oil, etc.)

 I also add different things to the list every time, but I make sure it’s nothing I’ll end up throwing away, and nothing too luxurious, expensive and unnecessary.Each cooked vs. restaurant meal has saved me 30 – 70 %, depending on what I cook and where I’d eat if I wasn’t cooking.

 Cooking and freezing makes all the difference

 You’ll notice my shopping list contains more frozen than fresh food. Here’s why:

- New research shows that frozen food is much healthier than previously thought

- Food manufacturers freeze food when it reaches its peak ripeness, which results in perfectly ripe and nutrient-rich food when thawed (as opposed to fresh food that usually loses a lot of its nutrients once it finds its place on my menu)

- Fresh food often rots after a few days, while frozen food can be used much longer

I’ve found that using frozen food rationalizes my expenses in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

Here are a few tips on freezing food that will hopefully help you cut your costs, just as they’ve helped me:

5 Freezing Rules That Made Me Richer

 Once you realize that eating frozen food (thawing it first, of course) is as healthy as eating that same food fresh, you’ll see that it saves you valuable things. Follow these freezing rules and you’ll never waste food, money and time again.

1. Before freezing vegetables, you should blanche them. That means you put them in boiling water for a short while, then you put them in cold water to stop the boiling process, and you freeze them. This way you stop the enzymes from “gnawing“ at your food.

2. You have to pack your food tightly, without letting any air remain in the package. Unless you do so, your food will get “burned“. Food burn is when air causes food to dehydrate, leaving it tasteless, though not damaging to your health.

3. Pack your food into small one-serving-size bags/containers/paper. This way you won’t have to thaw large chunks that you won’t be able to eat, and you won’t be throwing it away (wasting money).

4. It is absolutely necessary to label all your food properly. Use freezer labels that won’t come off and write on them the following:

o What type of food is in the package

o Date you put it in the freezer

o End date for using it (for best advice on this, follow:

5. Never freeze hot food, and try to always thaw food in the refrigerator for a day or two. If you really don’t have time for this, you can thaw it in the microwave or under cold water (in a plastic bag).

If you follow these simple, yet essential steps, you’ll always have ready ingredients for a healthy, inexpensive meal. Plus, you’re richer by 25% of your food budget (give or take). Tell me honestly – is that not worth a little trouble of planning ahead?

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