You can save a tonne of money when you have the right mindset, tools, and strategies. The easiest of these is to earn a lot of money, spend less than you make, then save the rest.
But what if you don’t earn a lot of money, or worse still, have no stable income to speak of? How do you go about saving?
The shortages we experienced during the panic-buying of the first lock-down made me realise that you can make the little you have go a long way. Once you get over that first hump, you’re on your way.
These are the money-saving hacks I learnt during lock=down. Yes, life dragged me down that path kicking and screaming but now when I look back, I only feel gratitude.
1. Foraging in the Forest
You will be amazed at what you can find in the forest. There’s more than fresh oxygen. You can pick all kinds of fruit whilst you exercise your limbs. It’s all free! Where I live we get lots of apples, all kinds of berries, and certain edible greens. All good for your health and contributing towards your five-a-day quota.
Once you start this great past time, you’ll find it hard to stop. You get to meet families doing the same. The experienced ones are always ready to share tips.
Getting fruit and vegetables for free puts you ahead of someone buying the same from a store.
2. Making Your Own Products
It may sound intimidating at first if you have never done it before. Trust me when I say that there is nothing to it. All you need are basic kitchen utensils including a good blender and you’re good to go.
The following are some of the things I made at home using what I had in the cupboard.
Jam. I made jam using berries picked in the forest. Making jam is easy and fun. It tastes just as good as the store bought equivalent.
Rice flour. This is great for thickening sauces and soups. Sprinkle it over sweet potato fries to get that lovely crispy crunch. I use it for regular roast potatoes now and it works a treat. You can also boil it in water to make a heart-warming breakfast porridge which you can serve with apples or berries. It tantalises your taste buds. Boring breakfasts become a thing of the past.
Oat flour. I first made this when the stores ran out of flour. Out of desperation I blended a few cups of oats, put it through a sieve and added some baking powder. I had just made my very own self-raising flour, full of natural goodness. I used it to bake muffins, cookies, make crumble, pancakes and chapati. It’s a bit tricky to make chapati but it works.
Castor sugar and icing sugar. These two items cost quite a bit in the shops and most times you only need a small amount instead of the whole packet. I made my own, the exact quantity I needed, using the blender.
Oat milk and rice milk. Can you believe that the only ingredients you need are oats (or rice) plus water? You can switch it up a notch and add dates, vanilla extract or other flavourings, but the basics will still serve you well. You can use the milk for cereal, to cream your hot beverage, drink it on its own, or use in baking and smoothies. All you need is a good blender and something to strain it with. Some use a cheese cloth. Others recommend using a clean tea towel. I use a tea pot with an integrated tea strainer. Straining it three times gives me the best results.
3. Oil-free Cooking
Cooking sans oil is a game changer. Once you learn this hack you’ll wonder why you spent so much money buying oil. You might not go completely oil-free but reducing your use by 50% will add pounds to your pocket over time.
Some of my favourites for oil free cooking are popcorn and roasts. For popcorn I heat a good pot with a solid base on the cooker then added popping corn. It pops better than when using oil and I find that all the corn usually pops, unlike when I use oil.
For things that need roasting I usually cook them together with something that has natural oils.
You don’t need a tonne of money to achieve sizeable savings. Just use what you have in your cupboards and be creative. Every penny saved has the potential to add more zeros after it. This can put you in a better financial position in the long run.
- Foraging in the forest.
- Making your own products.
- Oil-free cooking.