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So, who doesn't like having a few extra bucks saved at the end of the month? It's always good to know that you've been a wise consumer and haven't been swindled of your hard-earned cash by the local supermarket.
Of course, saving cash takes some hard work and preparation as well as a decent amount of planning; but once you decide to do it, you're good to go!
Making "saving" a lifestyle choice is a rather good habit to have and follow. The kitchen is a good place to start from and here's how to go about it:
Start A Kitchen Garden
Your kitchen garden doesn't have to be grandiose, you could easily grow enough for a family of four out of a couple of pots on your balcony.
Grow tomatoes, garlic, greens, potatoes and vines with gourds. Set up trellises for your plants, so that they grow well and occupy less space.
Grow friendly plants together to grow more and keep pests away. You can literally grow a new garden from kitchen scraps, and be much happier because of it!
Make Your Own Detergent:
Most household cleaners are inorganic and toxic, and they not only remain in the clothes we wear and the dishes we use but are later flushed down the drain into our oceans and seas, where they kill our marine life and damage our environment.
Later, they land up on our tables as table salt, where we consume them all over again. It's a vicious cycle! It's actually very simple to make a detergent that's cost-effective and keeps clothes super clean and smelling fresh.
Recipes are abound on the internet, so select the one without toxic ingredients. You'll save a bomb on detergents and household cleaners every month.
Replace Tissues For Cloth Wipes:
Reusable cloth wipes soaked in vinegar and lime juice do a very effective job of cleaning kitchen counters and are far more long lasting than paper rolls.
They're eco-friendly too. Just throw them in the machine, dry, soak them in vinegar and lemon juice (that's optional, though) and reuse.
Use A Pressure Cooker
As opposed to microwaving or baking or even cooking on a pan, a pressure cooker is a great way to cook food efficiently and cost-effectively. Make sure you make optimum use of your pressure cooker and save mega bucks.
Buy From The Farmer’s Market:
Farmer's markets are often up to fifty percent cheaper than supermarkets, and the produce is fresher too. Usually, it's finding the time to travel the distance that is the real problem, but if that's overcome, then the farmer's market is definitely a better option.
Get A Large Freezer
Either buy an independent freezer or a refrigerator with a large freezer. This will allow you to shop less often, and freeze the excess, without throwing things away. Less wastage is equal to more money.
Buy In Bulk:
Buying in bulk allows you to obtain greater discounts. These are called economies of scale, so you'll find that if you buy 500 ml of shampoo, it might cost Rs 175 while 250 ml would cost you Rs 90.
Don't buy large amounts of everything; only buy in bulk those staples that you use regularly like grains, pulses, oil, some standard spices and so on. This actually works our to be cheaper.
Grandma's pickle recipes might come in handy here! It's important to know how to preserve foods, whether in oil, sugar, vinegar, or brine. Preserving helps save money around the household, and is a housekeeper's friend.
Drying is another great preserving technique, and helps with dry fruits and spices. Avoid wastage by preserving what you don't need for later. If you're growing your own produce, the art of preserving will be particularly useful to you.
Reusing glass and metal even plastic jars around the house reduce the non-biodegradable waste you throw out into the environment.
Glass and metal jars look great, they're washable and are easy to use. Building up a collection is quite a feat, so why not start yours from today!
Kitchen scraps can be creatively recycled, so that nothing ever goes waste. The internet is abound with eco-friendly information on this.
Vegetable scraps can either go into your compost pit or be used to generate new plants, and kitchen scraps can be frozen to be eaten the next day. Avoid over cooking and wastage, and always cook exactly as much as you need. If you live alone, learn to cook for one.
Eat Out Less:
People who cook their own meals and eat at home save more. Get yourself some great cooking skills, so that you won't miss eating out any more.
Give yourself a diverse menu of simple, cost-effective dishes, time-saving and delicious dishes to choose from. And eat at home.
Shopping online keeps you focused on the product you want to buy; you also save time and money and it's definitely more efficient.
It's a good idea to have an arrangement with a neighbour or a relative to receive the goods when they arrive, so that you don't have to stress too much about it.
Take Advantage Of A Sale:
Sale, whether at the local supermarket or at your favourite all-purpose website are a great time to secure fabulous discounts on things you require around the house.
It's really a question of good timing, so make the time to be prompt and shop for what you need during the sale.
Make A List:
Shopping requires good planning skills, and making a shopping list is a great habit to inculcate in your self. It keeps you focussed on the task at hand.
A grocery list keeps you from getting distracted by stuff you don't really require. Also, you don't come back from the store without stuff you actually require. Make a list in advance and use it while you shop. You'll find that you'll really do save more!
Use Your Coupons:
Grocery coupons are a great way to save money. There's nothing sadder than paying Rs 500 for a jar of olives only to later discover that you had a coupon for it, and that it was completely free. Coupons are meant to be utilized; you're not depriving the grocery store and it's no act of cruelty.
A little thriftiness goes a long way; and like they say- a penny saved is a penny earned!