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The last few years have been dramatic - and for many, traumatic - in a way which we could not possibly have been prepared for. And although there is always good news, if you know where to look, there is bad news too. Even as we look to a future beyond the pandemic, it’s an unavoidable fact that there are going to be bumps on the road to recovery - and that means that it’s probably wise to look for ways to keep spending low.
At the same time, you’ve got to eat. Many of us, when looking for savings to make, think in terms of what we can tolerate missing out on - and a shocking recent statistic revealed that one in four Americans have skipped meals during the pandemic to keep spending low. While it’s understandable to consider cutting meals out, this is also a false economy. When you miss meals, your body - and your brain in particular - will not be performing at full power. Below are some tips for eating more affordably without having to go to the extreme of skipping meals.
There is one obvious wrinkle in the idea of signing up to a store like Costco, and it’s the fact that you need to pay a membership fee. To spend the cost of a decent-sized food shop without having anything immediate to show for it may seem like throwing money away, but you will certainly make it back. The prices you will pay for essentials, including long-life tinned goods like tomatoes (which can be used as a base for so many recipes and stews), will be so much lower than you’d pay for an ad hoc supermarket trip, and they’re the ideal place to start a stockpile - which may be important in a future crisis.
When you sit to eat, the goal should be to feel full at the end of the meal and to have enjoyed what you ate. If you’ve satisfied your appetite and eaten something tasty, you’re less likely to feel like snacking and upset your meal plans. Having oatmeal for breakfast - with any additions that you know you’ll enjoy - can keep you feeling full until lunchtime. Eggs and potatoes are two foodstuffs that can be used in a number of ways without getting boring, and simple desserts can bring some joy to the table too. A classic banana pudding recipe requiring no cooking is always useful, and adds plenty of nutrients. Keeping things interesting will stop an economy drive from feeling like you’re denying yourself things.
Going vegetarian is certainly a way to economize on food, but not everybody can make that change comfortably. However, if you can even go meat-free for a day or two, it does make a difference. Put simply, meat is more expensive than most other items on your shopping list, and if you can put together a veggie curry or a tasty leek and potato soup, it can put a dent in food costs. The more ways you find to enjoy meat-free eating, the more you can save - and you can eventually decide either to become full-time vegetarian or simply cut back on meat for days per week.
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