With the questionable economy hanging like a dark cloud over our heads, even those who never really worried about the cost of their groceries are now attempting to be more savvy. The 2012 drought put a major hurt on the farm crops for the year, which trickles down to pretty much every item on the supermarket shelves. Saving money on your everyday items might seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. I am not talking about clipping coupons, although I do firmly believe in the use of matching them together with store sales. Instead, I would like to share a few ideas on how you can provide food and cleaning supplies for your household that will not only save you money but are also better for you.
Bread is something that my family goes through a lot of. My kids love grilled cheese sandwiches, and my husband and I take ham or turkey sandwiches to work with us to save from eating out. Living as far out as we do; however, running to the store constantly to buy a loaf of bread is not feasible. I now make two loaves of plain white bread once a week for our family’s needs. The same recipe can also be used to make hamburger and hot dog buns.
Making homemade bread is very simple so long as you follow the instructions in the proper order. No fancy equipment is necessary as the dough can be kneaded by hand on a counter top. You can also take this a step farther by making homemade pizza dough, tortillas and even cinnamon rolls. By involving your children in the process, you are teaching them about alternatives to eating processed foods, as well as providing healthier foods not containing preservatives.
Jellies, Sauces, Soups
During the peak of the season for your local fruits and veggies, keep an eye out for mature items that are still good, but potentially less expensive. During the end of the year of 2012, I was able to pull enough cherry plums off our tree that I made dozens of jars of jelly. Not a quick process, but it was also not complicated. I was able to preserve enough to last us all the way through the year, and I gave some as gifts as well, all from the one tree.
Creating relishes and salsas for your family is very cost effective. Either grow a small crop of tomatoes, onions and peppers, or visit your local farmer’s market for the freshest possible ingredients. Making soups and stews from scratch rather than from a can might seem like hard work, but the fresh taste will reward you in a big way.
It may seem like it is just easier to purchase an all-purpose cleaner from the store for cleaning up around the house. However, they cost a lot and they contain harmful chemicals. There are several choices for cleaners that will work just as well, and are made from natural materials. For example, baking soda can serve many purposes, including a deodorizer for you laundry and carpet. It can also be used as a non-abrasive scrubbing agent for your tough-to-clean hard surfaces. Another great, time-tested mixture is warm water, cornstarch and white vinegar for shiny windows.
We can all stand to save a few pennies here and there. In addition, the health benefits of making more food and cleaning items at home is priceless.