There are many ways you can save on your grocery bill. I go through fits and bursts of meal planning, only buying what we need for that week or buying in bulk, all of which can save you money if done with some forward planning.
The thing that saves us most at the supermarket though, is cooking from scratch. This means different things for different people, for me it simply means buying whole ingredients instead of packets. This works for me because I enjoy cooking and I was brought up this way so I have a general idea about how to cook most things, and the confidence to have a go. Don’t get me wrong, you will find packets of things in my pantry and fridge, some things just aren’t the same when they are home made. Take Tomato Sauce for example. I LOVE bought Tomato Sauce and would choose it over home made any day!
Three things that I make religiously that save us big money are Bread, Butter and Yoghurt. This works for me as I am home a lot, I enjoy it and…I’m a tight ass, as you would know from previous posts ;-). So here are my tips in case you feel inspired to have a go.
For this you need a bread machine, well unless you feel like kneading by hand…not my idea of fun! It does not need to be anything fancy but something with a timer is very useful if you tend to be like me and always realise that you are out of bread at 10pm. A machine with a timer means that you can set it to come on in the wee hours of the morning so you can have toast for breakfast without getting up in the middle of the night to put the bread on, or take it out.
I usually have white, wholemeal and multigrain bread mix so we don’t get sick of the one type. You can mix any combinations of flours and also add extra seeds and grains as you like. It will take you a few goes to get the perfect loaf and every brand of bread mix will require a slightly different recipe but I find that 330ml water, a glug (probably a tablespoon) olive oil, 3cups bread mix and 2tsp yeast is perfect. I use Lauke Bread Mix and I have worked out that a loaf costs around $1.30 🙂
I make this in my Thermomix. Before I had it I used my food processor, that worked but wasn’t quite as easy so I didn’t make it very often. I am lucky enough to be able to buy 2L of cream locally for $7. This makes around 1.4kg of butter and around 600ml of buttermilk, this changes with the cream depending on the amount of butterfat in it.
Once I have made butter I mix in a good pinch of salt and 2 glugs of Rice Bran Oil (which has no flavor). This makes nice spreadable butter (when kept in the cupboard). Homemade butter will go rancid much faster than store bought so I freeze into either 250g blocks for baking or small containers for everyday use. I also freeze the buttermilk in 100/200ml containers or ice cubes so it can be used easily in baking.
I have tried making yoghurt using just milk and a starter culture and sometimes it works but I just couldn’t get it to work every time (some people can) so I use EasiYo. It is not quite as cheap as using milk and culture but still much better than buying ready made. I stock up when the sachets are in special, they are often $3 each or less and this makes 1L of yoghurt. I always buy the natural mix and we add jam or lemon butter when we eat it or I mix in 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1tsp of vanilla paste at the beginning.
I am by no means an expert at any of this but if you have a go and something doesn’t work for you let me know, I am happy to trouble shoot with you 🙂