Saturday, September 11, 2010

Stretching the Money in Purchasing Food

purchasing food without worrying about money
 Here are some pointers for saving your food money:

    * Buy foods in season. Certain fruits and vegetables are available only at certain times during the year, and during the time they are in season, they are much cheaper than out-of-season foods.
    * Use a list drawn up before leaving the house. You may make minor changes when you see what the marker offers, but buying by guesswork is merely wasting money.
    * Avoid buying luxury items on impulse. If your food budget is limited, don’t buy optional food item just because they are delicious or listed in the recipe.
    * Buy perishable foods only as you need them.
    * Check your supplies on hand while making out your shopping list. Keep a pad handy on which to list necessary items as you run out of stock.
    * Buy food of good quality. Those sour little oranges may be cheap, but if your family refuses to eat them, your money has been spent uselessly.
    * It is cheaper to buy staples such as rice, sugar, salt, and flour in large amounts. Store them in airtight cans or bottles to keep out moisture and bugs.
    * Compare prices in different market stalls or grocery stores. There are times when two dealers may be carrying merchandise of equal quality, but one might charge less.
    * Buy at a convenient time. If you are in a hurry, you will tend to do your shopping haphazardly, thereby wasting both time and money.
    * Buy only as much as the family can eat. No matter how much John loves mangoes, he will get tired of them if they appear on the table three times a day for a whole week.
    * Use evaporated milk or buttermilk powder instead of fresh milk. The former are cheaper, and give the same food value.
    * In buying canned or bottled goods, read the labels carefully. Compare brands in order to make sure you get the best for your money. Fancy labels or nicely shaped bottles do not always come with quality merchandise.
    * Meat is an expensive source of protein. Why not use tofu, beans, or eggs instead. Not only are they cheaper – they are also better for health. You will find that when properly prepared, these foods can be as tasty as meat dishes.
    * To avoid too much table waste, cook food for maximum palatability and serve small to medium portions, never large ones.
    * Cook just enough food for each meal. This especially pertains to vegetables. Leftovers deteriorate in nutritive value and many refuse to eat them because they are often stale and soggy.
    * It is alright to buy in large quantities if the price per unit is less, provided you have space for proper storage, and you can use the food before it spoils.
    * Plan meals for several days at one time.
    * If you cannot be home for every meal, carry a lunch or snack with you. Food at restaurants and canteens usually costs more than food prepared at home.
    * Buy brown eggs if they cost less than white. The nutritive value is exactly the same.
    * Try to minimize waste in food preparation. For example, you can cook potatoes in their jackets, and use the outer dark green leaves of cabbage.
    * If you have time and space, grow some of the vegetables you need, in a garden. This will insure you of a fresh supply whenever you need it.
    * Instead of patronizing the corner bakery, make your own bread, cakes, and cookies at home.
    * Use margarine instead of butter for a spread on bread, etc. It not only is cheaper, it is also more healthful.
    * In buying fresh vegetables, keep the following points in mind:
           a. Check the color - it should be bright. For example: tomatoes should be a healthy red, carrots a rich orange, and spinach a deep green.
           b. Buy only what you can use right away. Keeping vegetables a long time is not practical since they tend to get over-ripe or spoiled. Don’t buy potatoes in very large quantities, either. They might sprout before you use them up.

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