Thank you all for contributing your ideas on how to save money. I have to confess, we already do most of the things suggested and seeing them as comments validated our frugal choices. I think we'll have to start thinking about our Etsy shop soon or I'll have to find some more writing work.
I'd like to continue on this theme with some thoughts on being frugal and then I'll go to to using leftover food.
First let me say something about being frugal. There is a debate in the English newspapers at the moment about penny pinchers and tightwads as if it's a bad thing. Being frugal with some things so you can buy the things you truly need and want, or to live in a way that is unusual by today's standards doesn't make us mean, cheap or miserly. It simply means we have gone outside what is "normal" and we dare to use our money on what enriches us and not what others think we should have. If you've been frugal for a long time, or if you're new to the neighbourhood, you're doing a wonderful thing for yourself and for the planet. Keep doing it. The peace of mind that comes from paying off debt, living debt-free, and not wasting time in shops so you can spend more time with family or doing what you love, far outweighs any pleasure gained from spending money. It's sad that most people don't know that but don't let it put you off your path. Be confident in your frugal choices and march to the beat of your own drum. It's the only way.
On current estimates, we all waste thirty percent of the food we buy. Just think! That's like taking $100 to the shop, throwing away $30 and coming home with $70 worth of goods. It's insane. Most of us cook too much but that's not a bad way to cook. I usually cook enough for four meals most evenings, even though there are only two of us living here. The leftovers are either frozen for the following week or eaten the following night, saving time and money. If there is only enough leftover for one meal, use it for lunch the following day, or add vegetables or rice to it and serve it up for two. Don't let it sit in the fridge to turn into a science project; don't throw good money away.
I remember my mother baking a leg of lamb for Sunday lunch, that night we'd have toasted lamb and salad sandwiches for tea. Monday night we'd have lamb curry and if there was any lamb left over, it would be shepherds pie the following night, made by mincing the lamb with one of those manual metal grinders attached to the kitchen table. I loved that job. With that in mind, last week, after we had our half lamb leg roast, we had lamb sandwiches and then lamb curry the following night. This is the recipe for it.
LEFTOVER LAMB|BEEF|CHICKEN|TURKEY|FISH|EGG|VEGETABLE CURRY
This can be made with any leftover meat, chicken or fish, or freshly boiled eggs, or just vegetables.
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced
plus whatever other vegetables you want to use
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons curry powder or paste
salt and pepper
1 can coconut milk, or stock or plain water if you have neither
a portion of leftover meat or fish cut into cubes. If you have no meat, or are vegetarian, boil some eggs and serve them with the curry sauce.
* Place the onion, carrot and celery in a frying pan with a tablespoon of oil and cook until the onion is transparent.
* When the onion is cooked, add the garlic, salt and pepper and tomato paste and stir for 30 seconds.
* Add the curry powder|paste and stir to allow the curry spices to release their flavours.
* Add coconut milk|stock and meat and stir throughly.
* Bring to the boil, simmer for 30 minutes or until the coconut milk|stock has halved in volume and the sauce is thick.
* Serve with boiled rice.
You could use any cooked vegetables that were in the fridge as well in this and if you had no rice, serve with potato, polenta|cornmeal or a piece of toast or bread on the side. It's delicious and filling and will make sure you get the full measure of the money you spend on your food.