Sunday, August 29, 2010

Saving Money While Single: Food

I decided to take a break from dating posts for a bit and talk about another issue that plagues singles: money. I know married people have money problems too, but at least many married couples are living on two incomes. This summer, due to my part time status, I've had to revert back to the uber-budgeter I was when I lived on a volunteer stipend. Also, because I'm a Vegan, I need to get all the nutrients possible out of everything I eat. So I decided to share some of the ways I save on food and get my vitamins.

1) Eat out less.

2) Embrace the "throw everything in a pot" technique.
-This is especially helpful if you have a lot of things in small quantities to finish: 1/4 head of lettuce, 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 a tomato, you get the idea. Throw it all together as a stew, casserole, salad, stir fry, or soup.

3) Don't toss marinade liquid.
-Add it to the cooking or use it as a dipping sauce (depending on what you're making).

4) Save water from steaming.
-After you steam veggies, save the water and add it to something else later. There are vitamins in there! Use it for boiling rice, add it to sauce, pour it on whatever you're cooking, etc.

5) Blanch and freeze veggies (instead of letting them rot in the fridge).
-Blanching means “placing in boiling hot water briefly.” You can google how long to blanch each kind of vegetable. Throw the veggies in ice cold water, then throw them in the freezer (in a freezer bag of course).

6) Invest in a crock pot.
-Goes along with the "throw everything in a pot" technique, and I found mine at a thrift store (new!). This is especially good for cooking beans. They are also useful for busy people in general. Throw everything in the pot in the morning and when you return from work, dinner!

7) Save water from soaking nuts.
-I soak nuts for making "cheese" and vegan pesto mainly, but then I use the water in something else (like baked goods or oatmeal).

8) Use the last slices of bread
-I used to hate those last two slices of bread that were the ends of the loaf. But now I know you can soak them, blend them and add them to soup to make a creamy sop (that's what they did in the Middle Ages, sans blender). Also, they can be used as breadcrumbs.

9) Whole Foods' bulk foods
-Whole Foods sells lots of stuff in bulk: beans, teas, flours, nuts, granola, spices, etc. You can just buy what you need, which is especially useful for spices.

10) Don't toss brown bananas!
-Put them in the freezer to eat later as a healthy frozen treat. You could also use them instead of eggs in baked goods (and not just banana bread).

Essentially, “waste not, want not” is what I try to follow with food.

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