Did you know that some environmentally-friendly practices in the home can actually save your family money? Here are some very simple steps that you can take to save money and the environment.
Cooking good, wholesome food for one’s family doesn’t have to be time consuming! It does require a little planning, teamwork and timing. The results are serious cost savings, better health for your family and an important off-shoot of saving the environment, too!
Stop Eating Out
I recently cut our budget right down. The first place I cut? Eating out! We used to eat out approximately once or twice per week. Depending on how often your family eats out (that includes grabbing take out), you can save $400 dollars or more per month just by staying at home. Most importantly, you know where your food comes from when you cook it yourself.
To help you know where your food comes from, start doing some research about the local food producers in your area. In my small city, I have found a lady that makes her own tofu from her own organic soybeans; I have also found a local company that makes its own cheese. In our region we have flourishing local fruits and vegetable growers at the market and in the county, and there are also local organic eggs, dairies, butchers, honey and maple syrup producers. Supporting local food producers is affordable, helps build your local economy, and importantly, ensures that your food does as little travelling as possible. I choose not to contribute to rising fuel prices by avoiding buying food that has travelled hundreds of miles.
Avoid Prepackaged Foods
We all love the taste of homemade cookies and biscuits. However, some people may not realize that these items are extremely simple to make and use basic ingredients. If you love fresh baked cookies, my trick is to make the dough in advance (it takes about 10 minutes or less to mix together). Make enough for what you need at the time, and then put left over dough in the freezer. Then, if you are having a craving for them next week, the dough can be pulled out of the freezer, and after about 15 -30 minutes, chunks can be sliced off and slipped into the oven for a very quick, fresh baked treat.
If we think about it, pre-packaged foods are stripped of their nutrients, and they absolutely bleed money from your family budget. Think about the following:
Quick flavored pastas cost about $3 per bag for one meal.
A whole bag of pasta costs about $2 or less per bag for 2-4 meals.
Prepared mashed potato flakes or scalloped potatoes cost about $3 per bag for one meal.
A whole bag of potatoes costs $3 for 10 meals or more.
Quick flavored rice costs about $4 per bag for one meal.
A nice big bag of rice costs about $12 per bag for probably 50 meals.
A package of prepared biscuit dough, cookie dough, muffin mix, cake mix or a loaf of bread all cost around 3 – 4 dollars.
A bag of flour costs about $12 per bag for dozens of cookies, muffins and baked goods.
Just think of how much money you can save by buying and preparing your own whole, local foods. Your family’s health will probably benefit from this change, and think of how much packaging you will be keeping out of a landfill by making these smart choices!