As we fall deeper into a double dip recession, food prices continue to rise, whilst petrol is becoming a luxury rather than a necessity purchase, people are looking to the past in an effort to find ways to save money. With ‘jobs for life’ no longer guaranteed, suddenly, we are turning to our parents and grandparents who lived through wartimes and survived, to give us tips. So what can they tell us?
Waste not, want not
I can still remember when as a child, the roast dinner we had for Sunday was made into shepherds pie for Monday, rissoles for Tuesday and if any was left we had a soup on Wednesday. Can you imagine people doing that these days? But why not? Quite often once a roast chicken has had all the meat taken off it, if it is left to simmer in stock you’ll find there is still plenty of meat to make a stew for the next day. Bulk it out with potatoes and fresh veg and you have a healthy meal from something that you would have thrown out. Or take a lamb roast; if it has a bone it is ideal for simmering with potatoes or barley to make an Irish stew that is probably tastier than the roast! You can also buy cheap cuts of meat to make wholesome stews and learn to go to the supermarket right at closing time on a Sunday afternoon to nab some great bargains. We have to learn to use up every single piece of food we buy as a recent campaign noted that the average family throws away £420 worth of food a year. Look at how you buy your lunch for instance. If you eat out or grab a sandwich everyday, buy a loaf and make your own to take to work. And don’t even think about buying an over priced coffee! Get a thermos and microwave a cup of milk for an instant caffeine fix. You’ll save on average around £20 a week if you stick to these lunch time thrifty tips.
Grow your own
If you have a garden, or any kind of outdoor space, why are you not growing your own vegetables? Not only will they be organic, but more tasty, cheaper and seasonal. Even if you only have room for a few pots, you can grown tomatoes, or strawberries, or runner beans easily. And if you have an allotment then you can really go to town. It has been noted that the popularity of allotments rises and falls with the nation’s austerity. So right now they are in favour and if you have one and are not using it, you may find it gets taken away from you. Grow lettuces and potatoes in the summer and hardy winter veg such as cabbage and cauliflower in the colder months. You will soon notice the difference between buying fresh seasonal vegetables and pulling them out of the ground on your pocket.
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves
This generation has become used to easy credit, the ‘I want it now’ kind of thinking and it is hard to remember that if our parents wanted something they had to save up for it. If you are in debt it is always best to pay off the debt before you start saving. But if you do not have any debt then try and put a little something away each month so that in an emergency you do not have to turn to a payday loan or an unauthorised overdraft. Once you get into the habit of saving each month, you’ll find that you do not miss the small amount of money going from your account each month. But small amounts soon add up. So let’s take a leaf out of our parents books and learn to wait for something we want, scrimp and save and not waste what we have. Good lessons for any generation!