Just how hard it is to feed your hungry eyes! The worst thing is that I like this… and that… I would try this… and that… I could mix this with that… a never ending circle.
Those hungry eyes of mine are the reason I end up buying all those things I know what to combine with, then some of those which I don’t currently know how to combine in a recipe… but it is interesting how, in my head, I can always justify my decision… I’ll come up with an idea eventually… there are so many recipes in the world.
I could spend hours in the supermarket, I mean I can do it now, too, looking at the spices, new products, new exotic fruit and vegetables, then some new drinks, wines…
And who wouldn’t… once you see this beauty (a green market in France)
And then the fruit and vegetables
My hungry eyes would buy all of that in order to feed themselves, and I somehow manage to stuff it all into the fridge, and then every ingredient waits for its turn.
Unfortunately, it’s never the right time to use some of them, and they end up in trash
That was especially frequent when I had corporation working hours around the clock. Then, the only thing I had, was willingness to play in the kitchen, and it would end on that.
Grocery shopping that I don’t use up later, or I cannot think of a way to use them (I forget those ideas) sometimes cost me more than what I had paid on the register. Not only did I pay for it, but I didn’t eat any of it later, I would only eat something on my feet.
When I look at statistics, the estimation (according to Food and Agriculture Organisation) is that about the third of the produced food in the world ends up in trash, and according to some data, every person in Serbia throws away about 35 kilos of food per year, which is worth 20,000 dinars.
Serbs mostly throw vegetables, yogurt, or bread. In my case, unfortunately, it is vegetables, and also some biltong meat products.
It’s time for changes, and deep ones.
I decided to roll up my sleeves and take up the problem of budgeting, and check whether the new system worked or not.
With the aim of raising own awareness about the excessive food and money wasting, I decided to change something in my relation towards fridge, groceries and shopping.
I started to…
And in the end, I reached the following conclusion:
- Before you start it, you should think… ok, we can agree this is a stereotype… but, first, think how ready for the shopping you are, how well you’d planned it, if you are going to have a list of groceries with you or not. Doesn’t the company you work for plan its budget, its resources in order to do better, don’t you at that same job plan your monthly, daily activities that you take up, in order to be more efficient? Well, all those same things should be applied in organization of your household. Why should it be different?
- The diet should be smarter. Healthier, and smaller meals. This will not only reflect on your budget, but it will also create positive energy, health and a great figure.
- Don’t throw away food, but keep it adequately for the next meal.
Tips & tricks for saving
My conclusion is that we should be aware of everything that we already have in our fridge, and before we go grocery shopping again.
We should first shop in our fridge
This is me, that ‘frog’ from the recipe here
We are surely going to spend less, and we can also cook another one of our favorite dishes from the ingredients in our fridge
Fruit and vegetables which seem a little dry or not very fresh can always be used for some soup, stew, sauce, juices, smoothie or ratatouille… Fresh red paprika for salad often happened to go to waste because they’ve not been eaten. Now, as soon as I realize that they’ve been in the fridge for longer than two days, I put them in the oven for 10 minutes and cook them, like for ajvar.
Who doesn’t like the smell of cooked paprika spreading through the house, doesn’t like ajvar either.
Mmm… here… as I write I can already smell the cooked paprika. God, do I enjoy that aroma
And then, I would peel paprika (it can do without peeling as well) and once they’ve cooled I put them in the freezer and have them for a quick salad with garlic, or even better as an addition to the main course, in combination with kaymak. Yummy… everyone in the house enjoys that.
Also, some leftovers that you wouldn’t normally eat, such as old bread, you can turn into croutons which can combine amazingly with some salad dish. Take that to work with you, and there’s a healthy diet.
How often do you look at labels and dates?
I’ve always paid attention only to the due date on the groceries when shopping. However, that is not enough for budgeting.
In order to successfully budget, I had to make difference in that segment between the following terms:
Sell by– a date showing the amount of time within which a product can be sold. Products should be bought before that date.
Best by– recommended date up to which the product would have its distinctive qualities. Meaning, a product can be used even after that date has expired, but the quality and flavor wouldn’t be as before that date.
Used by– this is the final producer’s recommended date to consume the product, and we should stick to it
Once we completely obey by these rules, we make saving
There’s no gain without investment
What I have learned very well in my life, is that you cannot prospect unless you invest
Where and how much I’ve invested on one thing, so that has paid off on another?
Simple domestic math! We all have to be entrepreneurs at least once in our lives.
I started with minimal investment.
Planning well is a great beginning for initial saving
I’ve made a plan (weekend meal plan) where and what we would eat for an entire week.
And then I invested in the shopping list.
That was a great solution to fix my budget. The fridge wasn’t overloaded with the same, or similar ingredients that never have their turn
At first, I used to buy planners in bookshops, but I came to conclusion I could budget on that, too, so I made my own one.
In order to motivate you to venture in planning your household budget, at least in relation to grocery shopping, I will here share with you, and give you a COMPLETELY FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLANNER AND LIST FOR GROCERY SHOPPING, FOR FREE. Your weekly meal planner and a grocery shopping list are on this link (a combined planner and a list)
Both these documents can always come in handy at the very blog, on the side in any of the topics
The solution is found… Start planning immediately, because it is going to be a certain success
Budget control in my household has been set. Now, let’s move on…
One step ahead
But then I wanted to take one step further… I’ve found a way to save additionally.
What to do with the excess groceries you’ve been planning to spend that very day, but for some reason you haven’t, for instance, someone asked you to lunch, or dinner?
I’ve killed two birds with one stone. And you’ll see how…
I’ve learned how to store groceries so that they would stay fresh for a longer period, and I make it easier for me to cook and prepare a healthy meal when I’m in a rush…
I needed to make one more investment for this. A bit more costly than the one at the beginning, but it paid off, and in very short period
I’ve hired my own personal fridge assistant- a food saver
What is a food saver?
It is basically a system containing vacuum bags, and/or vacuum containers (boxes) designed so that they can perform excellently in keeping groceries fresh via vacuum system.
The system eliminates the air from the bag and it closes it hermetically. By doing so, it keeps groceries fresh up to 5 times longer, and prevents them to go off.
This is nothing new, there’ve already been similar things, but they’ve come to be neglected in time.
Remember those old gadgets for compressing freezer bags, our mothers and grandmothers used to use. Well, food saver is similar to that, only it goes one step further in being up to date.
That is just like thehigh fashion, it all goes around in circles, only with slight alterations.
This is kitchen fashion, and it should be followed.
My food saver looks like this.
And I use vacuum bags. Along with the gadget, you get a certain number of those bags of different size, but they can be ordered additionally.
I got my food saver here, and it can be paid in installments, too.
Where have I realized all the wonders of food vacuuming before I’d bought my own food saver?
And what was it that stimulated my imagination in the direction of buying one of my own?
When I shop, I often (not often, but always) drag along on my way back a bunch of traditional food from the places I’d visited. Most often that is cheese and various biltong meat.
In shops (both smaller and bigger ones) where I buy them, I ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS have the sliced product vacuumed. When I bring that product home, it can last from 6 months up to a year from the day I bought it (of course that depends on the product).
Some hard cheeses, and sausages, bought, for instance, in my favorite place in Val Gardena (see here) can also last up to a year when vacuumed.
This was checked and tested multiple times.
The first official testing of my food saver
There is always that ‘if’… what if I pay for it and it does nothing…
However, my first testing of the food saver was more than successful, and it can save up to 150 euros for four members of my family.
Somebody will now say that we are low-budget tourists, but who cares… we’ve increased our holiday budget for 150 euros and we did it only by saving on breakfast for four.
Of course we haven’t stopped having breakfast… we’ve even been eating better and healthier.
Pay attention now…
It is difficult to purchase quality food for breakfast on holiday. And what is partly of good quality is very expensive. Food saver gives you an option to buy everything you like to eat in your town and bring it with you, and you know that you won’t find anything better nor cheaper there.
It won’t look as if you put a bag of paprika at the roof of your car and go on a journey. Food saver enables you to vacuum groceries and minimize them, so that they don’t take up too much space in the car.
I’ve already mentioned that I have a lot of biltong meat from various trips I’d taken to feed my hungry eyes, so I decided to vacuum them and bring them on holiday with me
The preparation looked like this:
And the result was 150 euros in my pocket! One holiday more and the food saver has more than paid off.
Now, it’s up to you to decide… with or without a food saver
Little secrets of great food savers
I here reveal some of the tricks to save additionally
How to make vacuum bags for food saver from regular bags.
In a makeshift manner, but it can pay off.
Straw is the key to success
Each rude comment would be deleted 🙂
A weekly meal planner grocery shopping list food saver
First a weekly meal planner.
Than a shopping list coordinated with the planer.
And in the end a food saver for the ultimate results.
Saving is guaranteed, I’ve analyzed, tried and seen it.
Nothing happens overnight, but persistence always pays off eventually.
I wish you a merry budgeting, and I’m off to indulge myself for being a good housewife.