In today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to cut costs, particularly when it comes to food. Food prices have gone up and it may not be so easy to afford ingredients for our favorite dishes anymore. It may seem difficult, but there are ways to save money at the grocery store. I’ve come up with a list of ten different ways to continue eating what you like while keeping pennies in your pocket. Some are simple, others may take a little work, but in the end saving money and eating healthy makes it worth the while.
1. Buy Tahini for Recipes Instead of Preparing It on Your OwnYes, I am a big advocate for preparing foods at home, but I have to admit that most of the time it is cheaper to buy tahini than it is to make it homemade. The rising cost of sesame seeds is the culprit and they are the essential ingredient in tahini. Companies that sell tahini are able to buy the seeds in bulk at a discount - something we cannot do.
Nothing replaces the taste of homemade tahini, but if you are in a bind, store bought will always do! Most Middle Eastern restaurants use already prepared tahini - so the quality is very good.
2. Skip Out on Recipes That Call For SaffronAlthough there is nothing like the flavor of saffron in a dish, it is one of the most expensive spices on the market. Right now is probably not the best time to be experimenting with recipes calling for saffron as the price really is outrageous. There are some that claim turmeric is a saffron substitute, but even when using just a little there is no mistaking the difference in taste. I have also of heard of others using a “Mexican Saffron” in place of regular saffron, although I have never tried it. I am always for experimenting but unless you are 100% craving a saffron dish, it is best to hold off on it for awhile or use it for special occasions.
3. Buy in BulkThis is one of my favorite tips for saving money. Buying in bulk may seem more expensive at the time of purchase, but a few weeks later when you still have your bulk purchase on hand, it makes it all worth it. Buying in bulk not only saves money, but it saves time and gas not having to go to the store each week when we run out of an item.
Simple items to buy in bulk are meats like beef and chicken and also rice. Rice is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking and my family eats it just about every day. I would not buy lamb in bulk - it truly tastes best when fresh. I never freeze lamb and thaw later and really do not recommend doing so.
Other foods to consider buying bulk are spices that you use often and olive oil.
4. Grow Your Own VeggiesThis one take some effort and patience, but growing your own herbs and vegetables is a rewarding experience. Food tastes better when you know you’ve grown it yourself. Homegrown produce is much less expensive than store-bought, and is most times much fresher. Not only a money saver, but gardening is a wonderful, relaxing hobby.
I grow my own tomatoes, green onions, and green peppers every year. I have a container vegetable garden so I can keep my veggies out of reach of my tomato loving German Shepherd, Nina. Pets may be a roadblock to having gardens, but there are always ways around them.