We all have to eat food. So how can you do it cheaperand save on foods?
Payday loans net, payday loans uk provider, brings you this chapter on July, detailing how you can save on foods. We are a payday loan provider, and we are here for you should you need us. We offer payday loans of between £200 to £2,000. However, we bring many tips for you on how to take advantage of the summer fruits around at this time of year, as well as other pointers for you to save on foods. In this way, you may have no need to take a payday loan.
This chapter shows how much money you can save on your household food bills and you can read about:
- 1: Finding low-cost fruit and vegetables – pick your own farms and advice about picking fruit and vegetables; farmers’ markets; home-grown produce from your garden; supermarket reduced-to-clear sections to save on foods
- 2: Freezing – freezing fruit and vegetables; freezing other foodstuffs; using your freezer efficiently to save on foods
- 3: Herbs – freezing and drying to save on foods
- 4: Making home-made produce – jam-making; making chutneys and pickles; what to do with surplus produce to save on foods
- 5: Savings on supermarket shopping – organisation; changing how you shop; ‘special’ offers; using technology to save money.
During the summer months many fruit and vegetables become available in the UK and being seasonal; their prices are often much lower than at other times of the year. We start by listing places where you can source these crops at low prices. Later, we give you ideas of how to freeze vegetables and fruit and how you can dry herbs easily at home. We then show how to cut your grocery bills by turning this produce into jams, preserves, chutneys and pickles. Finally, we explain other ways you can save on foods and reduce your grocery bills by up to 50%.
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Suggestion No. 1: Finding Low-Cost Fruit & Vegetables
The Farmers’ Market initiative started in the 1990s and certification is awarded by the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association. Go to www.farma.org.uk for information about the nearest Farmers’ Market near you. Care is taken to ensure that produce is locally-grown and fresh and so this is a way you can stock up on seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as other produce like cheeses. The only drawback is that products can be more expensive than those found in supermarket chains, although you may be able to save on foods and get a better price for buying in bulk.
If you’ve started growing vegetables at home in a part of the garden, or in containers Ch.4, your crops will be completely free of charge. You would already have paid for the seeds at the beginning of the growing season. Don’t forget that with crops like beans, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce. You’ll be able to have vegetables throughout the season.
Pick Your Own Farms
Did you know that there are more than 1,000 farms in the UK which allow people to pick their own fruit and vegetables directly from the fields or orchards? To find the nearest farm to you, visit the website: www.pickyourownfarms.org.uk and choose your area. The website has details of all the crops grown on each farm, as well as suggested harvest times. However, you should remember that the availability of fruit and vegetables depends on the farm’s location, varieties planted and the weather conditions. Therefore, you should contact the farm beforehand to save a wasted journey. Alternatively, the site offers an email notification service.
Fruit and Vegetable Picking
Before leaving you should make sure you’re suitably attired in old clothes and trainers, so you don’t ruin your clothes. Take plenty of water with you as well as a hat. If you’re planning to stay longer, bring snacks or a picnic with you (remembering to clear up after yourself). Most properties have a farm shop where you can buy locally-produced products, but this will add to your daily expenses. Being bent double over vegetable beds can be surprisingly hard work so be prepared; think of it as a free work-out!
Before picking, check the charges imposed by the farm. Some charge a small entrance fee while others have a minimum spend. You can rent containers for a fee. However, as you’ll have to transport the produce home, it’s worth bringing containers with you. The produce you pick might be priced according to weight, volume or piece so ask farm owners before you start picking. Also, ask which fields or rows people have already picked, so you don’t waste time.
Picking your own vegetables can be a day out for the whole family but before going, check that children are welcome since some farmers don’t allow kids, worrying that they’ll destroy the plants. When you’ve finished picking, most farms offer some kind of tour. For example, watching the farm helper feed the livestock. Children will particularly enjoy this.
Suggestion No. 2: Freezing Fruit, Vegetables & Other Foodstuffs
Energy efficient freezer
Depending on the size of your family, the freezer compartment of your fridge might be sufficient for your needs. However, if you are serious about taking advantage of special offers and wish to freeze large quantities of foodstuffs, it’s worth investing in a larger stand-alone freezer – either upright or chest-style. It might be an added expense, but you can purchase a freezer for around £100. The freezer would pay for itself in its first year. To save money, you could consider buying a second-hand freezer, so you still make it to payday uk.
Check that the freezer is energy-efficient. At the beginning save on energy costs by filling it with plastic bottles half-full of water. A full freezer is much more economical to run as the cold air doesn’t need to circulate so much and you save on your energy bills. We talk about energy bills in Ch.10.
Freezing Fruit & Vegetables, and other foodstuffs
How many times have you seen special offers to save on foods in the supermarket but haven’t taken advantage of ‘3 for the price of 2’ offers because three is too many and you were worried that they’d go bad? Freezing is the ideal solution, and you’ll be amazed by the number of foodstuffs which can be frozen safely: margarine, butter, hard cheeses (preferably grated), milk, bread, baked goods and even bananas. In fact, there are few foodstuffs which you can’t freeze; notable exceptions are soft cheeses, some thinner yoghurts and milk or egg-based sauces (which tend to curdle).
You can blanche vegetables (such as broccoli, beans, peas, etc.) in a large pan of boiling water for 30 seconds to stop them going brown in the freezer. Once you remove them from the pan, you should put them in a bowl of iced water. Dry them on a piece of kitchen paper, then freeze the vegetables on trays and place them into freezer bags. Don’t forget to label all freezer bags with the contents and the date, so you remember the date until which you will use them. It’s dangerous to re-freeze after you have defrosted foodstuffs, so make sure to separate food such as meat into portions. In this way, you avoid wasting the food.
Suggestion No. 3: Freezing & Drying Herbs
How often has a recipe you’ve been following needed some herbs and you’ve bought a bunch only to throw most of it into the rubbish within a few days? You also often see herbs which have been reduced drastically in price in the special offers section of many supermarkets. To prevent wasting, you can freeze or dry herbs.
As soon as you’ve used all the herbs that you need, wash and cut them finely and place them in freezer bags. Don’t forget to label them with the name of the herb and the date you prepared the herbs. Next time you need this herb for a recipe, you can add as much as you need to your dish, replace the rest in the freezer and save yourself money.
Drying works much better if you have larger quantities of herbs. It is especially ideal if you’ve chosen to grow your own herbs in your garden, in containers on the kitchen window sill or in window-boxes.
Pick the herbs before they have the chance to flower. Choose a dry day for the picking, and pick before the sun has had the opportunity to warm the leaves. Tie the herbs together in bunches and preferably keep them in the dark, so they don’t lose their colour. Airing cupboards or space under the roof are ideal places to hang them as long as there’s no humidity or damp and there is a constant temperature. You could also cover them lightly with muslin or a loosely-woven cloth to protect them from dust. Instead of hanging the herbs, you could dry them on trays as long as there’s a constant flow of air and you turn them regularly.
You’ll know that they’re ready since the leaves will crumble when you touch them. Once they’re dry, crumble them, removing any larger woodier stems, place them in jars of darkly-coloured glass, label them and keep them for up to a year. Air-drying works particularly well for herbs with woodier stems like sage, rosemary and bay leaves. Herbs whose leaves are higher in moisture such as mint and basil can be dried at the lowest temperature setting of your oven, leaving the door slightly ajar to avoid ‘cooking’ them.
Suggestion No. 4: Making Jams, Chutneys & Pickles
Although you can freeze fruits as purées, the most efficient way of making use of surplus fruit is to make jams. For the novice, it might seem like a complicated procedure, but it’s surprisingly fast. The preparation time is less than 30 minutes while the cooking time varies but is around 10-30 minutes.
There are many recipes for a wide variety of jams online, but the basic guideline is that you need equal parts of sugar and a soft fruit like strawberries. Pectin is the jelling-like substance which occurs naturally in most fruit. Of course, different types of fruit have different levels of pectin. As you become more experienced in jam-making, you might want to mix fruit for better results such as blackcurrant and apple. Not only will you be able to save money on buying jams and preserves at the supermarket but you can also use it as the core ingredient for many cakes such as jam tarts and Victoria sponge cakes.
Chutneys are incredibly simple to make. Like jams, they need no special equipment except a large pan and pre-sterilised old glass jars. All you need to do is to cut the fruit or vegetables into small equal-sized chunks and cook them with sugar and vinegar until the sugar dissolves. Then, allow the mixture to simmer till it becomes a thick, syrupy consistency which you can place into jars.
You can pickle a wide variety of vegetables such as cauliflowers, carrots, cucumbers, etc. Allow the vegetables to soak in a brine solution (salted water) for 2 hours. Then cover with the pickling solution (made of white vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and if you wish garlic and peppercorns). After this, the pickled vegetables are ready to eat. Alernatively, you can place them in sterilised jars to consume later.
Whether you add them to sandwiches or keep them for picnics or to accompany cheese-boards, both chutneys and pickles are extremely versatile. You can make them from a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. You’ll be able to experiment with different flavours and combinations as you become more experienced.
You’ll probably find that you can use most of your jars of home-made jams, chutneys and pickles in the home. However, if you find that you’ve got carried away and made far too much, they can also be given as gifts. For birthdays, Christmas and other celebrations, they make a unique gift Ch.11 for both family and friends. To make their presentation more attractive, design and print off your own labels. For a rustic touch, make a decorative lid from scraps of old material and tie with string.
Suggestion No. 5: Saving on Supermarket Shopping
You probably know that supermarket chains have made a science of encouraging you to spend more money than you intended. They do this in several ways. Shop workers arrange profitable brands at eye-level around the shop; spreading staples around the so you’re forced to walk through the whole store. They place impulse buys at the check-out (such as chocolate) and waft the tempting scent of freshly-baked goods through the shop. These are some of the many tricks used to encourage you to part with your cash.
As they say, ‘Forewarned is forearmed’ so you should bear this in mind when you do your weekly shop. However, what are the other ways you can reduce the amount you spend on your groceries? Setting out a weekly menu is another good idea. You don’t have to set it in stone. However, a general idea of what meals you’ll cook that week means that you won’t buy products that remain unused in the fridge until they’ve gone off. Also, this will encourage you to make meals from scratch rather than buying ready meals. This alone can allow you to save on foods at levels of around 40%.
Using a basket instead of a trolley; paying in cash instead of by credit/debit card and going by public transport/on foot instead of by car are all ways to reduce the amount you buy and therefore spend on non-essentials.
Another way to reduce your grocery bill is to have a rule that once something has finished, you don’t rush out to buy a replacement until your next scheduled shop. How many times have you gone to buy a basic foodstuff like milk and come back with a shop of over £20? If you do need to buy an essential, just take the money for that item and leave all cards at home. This will help you to save so you won’t need to turn to a payday loans direct lender to make it through the month.
Consumers tend to be quite loyal to name-brand products, but their household name and expensive advertising campaigns aren’t necessarily a guarantee of better quality. Experiment with cheaper products, or supermarket products and see if you or your family spot the difference. Some subterfuge might be necessary. For example, putting cereals in the old brand-name box to make sure it’s a ‘blind taste’. Opting for these cheaper brands can cut up to 30% off your supermarket bills. Finally, you could think about when you do your shop. Would it be possible for you to do your shopping in the late evening? Workers don’t usually put those yellow stickers announcing reductions of up to 75% on the products until after 7-8pm.
Special Offers Be Cynical
Often supermarkets will deliberately increase the price of single items or exaggerate the original price of something, so those ‘3 for the price of 2’ offers seem particularly appealing. Think how much you usually pay for a product before blindly placing it in your basket. Also, never buy something purely because it’s on special offer unless you would have bought it anyway.
Think about waste. If you can’t use the extras, you might just be adding to the estimated £13 billion of household foodstuffs which are thrown away every year in the UK. Of this, 4.4 million tonnes is ‘avoidable’ food waste. In other words, it was edible but went bad in people’s fridges. This works out at £470 on average per household in the UK. The only exception to this rule are products with a longer shelf-life such as household cleaning products and toilet paper.
Weigh up the pros and cons of shopping via the Internet. It’s the easiest way to avoid falling victim to supermarkets’ psychological tricks and resist impulse buys. Finally, there are cookery websites which will give you ideas of things to cook with the ingredients and leftovers you have in your fridge. This way, you make a meal from scratch, and you don’t throw anything away.
Conclusion: July: How to save on foods
You can put the above suggestions given for July can into practice throughout the whole year. Cutting down on your grocery bills doesn’t mean your diet and health must suffer in any way. In fact, it is the complete opposite. Freezing vegetables and making your own products like jams and pickles can save you pounds. You and your family will have a more varied diet and with home-made products, while you save on foods.
Payday loans net, one of the UK payday lenders, advises that making simple changes to the way you do your grocery shopping can also work out to be more economical, cut down on household food wastage and encourage you to cook more instead of relying on ready-made meals and takeaways. Put changes into place and save on foods.