Another Monday, another week of saving, and aiming for a much better week than the last, car and children permitting! Mondays are usually my shopping days for bread, milk, fruit and vegetables only. I don't always have to do this, thanks to the routine I've got into over the last few months, sometimes I don't need to buy anything at all for a fortnight or more. I have saved so much time and money thanks to a Simple Savings member called Elisabete Basilio, who has absolutely no idea how much she has helped me, but isn't that the great thing about Simple Savings? All those wonderful people who help each other by sharing their ideas and learning some new ones. Elisabete's hint is very simple, but I had never even thought of it before and you would not believe how well it works! I always used to go to the supermarket and buy huge amounts of vegetables, stuff the fridge full of them and half of them would never see the light of day again, having well and truly 'gone off' by the time I rediscovered them. Not any more! I don't waste anything! For a start, I don't buy my fruit and vegetables at the supermarket any more, which saves me heaps to begin with. I go to my local greengrocers who have amazing prices and buy whatever I need there at a fraction of the price I used to.
When I get them home, it's time to put Elisabete's tip into practice! Out comes the chopping board and a roll of freezer bags. All my vegetables are immediately peeled, chopped up, put into bags and frozen - no other pre-cooking or preparation is necessary. I do this with broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, cabbage, silverbeet, beans and even carrots. That way, I only need to keep things like zucchini, mushrooms and salad vegetables in the fridge, which frees up heaps of space. The funny thing is, even with no pre-cooking, my frozen vegies cook in half the time! This enables me to really take advantage of things that are on special, and some weeks I don't need to buy anything at all. I might take me half an hour or so to chop and bag everything up, but the time it saves at mealtimes is well worth it. The same little greengrocers also sells the cheapest bread and milk I know; saving me $0.70c on every two litre milk I buy (compared to the next cheapest homebrand!) and I can buy bread for under a dollar a loaf, so I buy those in bulk whenever I can too. I'm lucky in that over the years I have managed to acquire three freezers - the chest freezer is for storing meat, bread and milk, another small freezer is for the vegetables and the smallest is for 'convenience foods' - pies, burgers and things for the kids. It means that at a glance I can see exactly what I have, and what I need to buy, and the family actually eats more vegetables because they are so convenient to prepare - just like frozen peas! Elisabete matey, I owe you one! Even better, I now also save on my freezer bags thanks to another hint. Fiona's tip was to ask your local grocer if it was possible to buy a roll of their fruit and vegie bags; the rolls they use in the shop. I did this and now have a roll of 1000 bags which will last me through a LOT of freezing for just a few dollars!