Money Saving Tips and Suggestions

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  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    No matter how much you earn or where in the world you are living things are getting either a bit more expensive or, for some, a lot more. There are lots of simple things we can do to cut down on electricity or fuel bills (we have a gas tank) but not everyone knows them all and some people have some really ‘out of the box’ thinking.

    I can start it off. When I look at my daily usage on Linky (I know you dont all have this) I can see certain days when the consumption jumps up. Sunday in particular. So thinking what I do different on a Sunday and it is using the oven for the Sunday roast. This really increases our usage. So:

    Tip – if, for example, your roast is supposed to take 2 hrs then turn off the oven half an hour before the end of cooking time. This can be adjusted if your timings work out different so if it cooks for 1 hr just turn off 10 minutes before. If you dont open the door the oven will stay at quite a high temperature for the remainder of the time. Just be careful if it is chicken which you dont want to undercook. Also, in the winter months, as we are open plan, when I have finished cooking in the oven I leave the oven door open to let the heat into the room.

  • posted by SunnyB
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    Thought I’d offer up a couple of ideas for saving on costs …..
    Batch cooking will save on energy, so make extra portions and freeze them to heat through another day.
    Don’t waste tired veggies, them can be used for soup, or be roasted.
    If you buy fresh herbs but won’t use them all before they go limp and mushy, chop and freeze the excess in ice cube trays.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Thanks SunnyB, to add to that, I also try to cook something else if I have to use the oven. So tomorrow it is a tray bake chicken dish (the Mary Berry receipe) but I am also going to prepare and cook the carrot topped cottage pie for Monday so it will just need warming through. I might even look at the chicken recipe and try to do it on the hob.

    When we stayed at our daughters as she went off on for a weekend away with the children, I sent them off with a stack of frozen sandwiches left over from the wedding for the journey (them and 5 kids cost loads if you have to stop somewhere). Then when she went off on her honeymoon I went through the fridge and found about 5kgs of a variety of cheeses – they really over catered – so that was all wrapped and frozen. Finally, there were 4 lemons and 3 limes which I sliced an froze flat on a tray so they didnt stick. Then put them in 2 freezer bags. They came back to a years supply of cheese and enough lemon slices for their gin and tonics to last for ages. Funny thing, they didnt know you could freeze cheese. I’m glad a got round to doing it as daughter said new hubby had been fretting about all the waste they had left behind.

  • posted by caronl
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    I am switching off the reserve fridge/freezer in the cellar. Will now only use it when really necessary – Christmas and special events. And I am using the microwave less by planning ahead and defrosting things in the fridge. Neither idea is rocket science, but running only one fridge should make quite a difference! 🙂

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Caronl – my daughter had a built in second fridge freezer and has removed one. It only ever held cans of coke, bottles of tonic etc with the freezer being full of bread (family with 5 kids go through lots of bread) and overflow from main freezer. She now has two very large cupboards for storing all those money off offers i.e. BOGO’s.

    I have just been researching cooking a joint in the microwave – much cheaper than the electric oven. Apparently you put the joint in a roasting bag with the liquid i.e. gravy. Stand it in a microwave safe casserole or bowl in case it leaks. Cook on medium for 30 mins. Take the meat out and while it is resting add your veg to the gravy i.e. carrots, leeks etc. Cook for 5 mins on high. Might try it this Sunday with the pork I have in the freezer. I am sure we are good enough cooks to know if the meat is done or needs a bit more time.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    In my opinion the microwave joint of pork was an epic failure. Yes it cooked and so did the veg, and I had a ready made gravy but it just didnt taste the same. No crunchy bits on the meat or flavour in the meat tray to make a tasty gravy. Not only that but looking at my Linky account the amount of electricity used was the same as every Sunday.

    Next time I am going to do a pot roast on the stove top, but then I wont be able to judge how much gas I have used instead of electricity.

  • posted by RubyG
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    Hi S-G, sorry that the microwave experiment didn’t work for the Sunday roast. I have vague recollections as a poor newlywed with no oven of some very dubious microwave meals. I do use the microwave a lot, mostly for steaming vegetables, making my cauli mash and cauli rice (I steam rather than cooking in the oven), but not for meat/chicken/any protein.
    I know some people swear by a slow cooker, but again I have had mixed experiences – stews taste odd and even if they are not actually watery they taste like they are. If I do use a slow cooker for a stew or pot-roast, I tend to brown the meat and veg first, then slow cook, although a slow cooker for soup seems to work OK. Alternatively, pressure cookers will reduce the cooking time for meat, and in my view give a better tasting stew or curry.
    I haven’t taken note yet of the rising energy costs in relation to my cooking methods, and I know I am fortunate in many ways, but I would like to still be able to use my oven for a roast dinner, if not every week then maybe once a fortnight, and maybe do some batch cooking on the second shelf for a quick reheat through the week.
    Also, very BSD friendly as well as energy friendly are quick one-pan suppers like stir-fries – tonight’s offering will be a piece of cod loin cooked with some peppers and chorizo, served on cauli rice (microwaved), about 10 minutes worth of cooking on the stove-top.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Hi RubyG to be honest using the oven for a couple of hours on a Sunday takes my daily usage from 12 KwH to 13.5. That in France is less than 25p. So I figure I would rather have food I enjoy. I dont often have a Sunday roast and mainly eat things like steak or a chicken casserole or even for a treat, confit de canard – comes in a tin and only needs 20 mins in the oven to warm it through. Yum yum, I am fancying that for Sunday.

    Tonight I am making a mince dish but I have supplemented the meat with 50g of red lentils. Saved me 50g of mince – counting the pennies but not because of the price of electricity or the cost of living but because I need 2000€ to get my pool surround re-pointed 🙂

  • posted by RubyG
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    25p for a meal you enjoy is worth it, in my opinion!
    My moneysaving adventure at the moment is to use the gas central heating in the morning only, otherwise showering is not an option in a baltic bathroom. This afternoon the real-feel was 6 degrees C (north east coast) and windy and rainy, so about 2.30pm I lit the log burner and rather than the raging inferno hubby so enjoys I am just keeping it ticking over and the open-plan downstairs area is comfortable (I am wearing a fleece top and tracky bottoms and socks).
    Although logs by the bag are stupidly expensive, we found a product which is compressed wood shavings (no glues added) which are a by-product of horse bedding, and they burn long, hot and clean and cost less than £10 for a 20kg bag, so we’re trialling those for the evening house warming and so far so good.
    Today’s lunch was chicken broth in the slow cooker, which will feed us for 3 days in total, just microwave it to reheat tomorrow and Wednesday.

  • posted by Elle-Mae
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    Our money saving is we have a string of solar lights for the garden that we have hung on the ceiling in the lounge with the charging unit outside on the windowsill so we don’t use the room lights in the evening. We will also use logs on the fire Ruby, I have resisted it so far and have used a fleece throw over me.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Before I talk about money saving tips, I notice there is a programme on UK TV (think it is channel 4 or 5) called 30 Money Saving tips.
    I am recording it.

    Sounds a bit extreme Elle but I bet it looks lovely. We have lamps all around the living room and dining room (open plan) and I must admit we have stopped having all 4 on and only use the one next to us. Also I have put a washing up bowl in the shower stall so while I am waiting for the shower to warm up it is collecting. Used it for the pot plants but not necessary now. Will use it when I clean the bathroom.

    I know I said my non use of the oven for cooking would only save 25p, if you used the oven daily that is a saving £91 per year. I must admit to cooking in the oven 2 or 3 times a week – hubby likes oven chips with his omelette and the Friday fish with chips. So that makes a difference of around £30 a year. Not much. Can I say, if you live in the UK you will save more. Our electricity is a lot cheaper than yours but not complacent, it is bound to go up at some time.

    We have stopped putting the dishwasher on every night and wait until it is completely full so it now goes on around 4 times a week. Cooking from scratch creates quite a bit of washing up so we soon get a full load. Now if we can get maybe the breakfast things in so leave it until the next morning then it has the knock on effect of being even emptier that evening and so on. So if we use it 5 times a week it will save us around again, 25p per week – around £30 per year. So you can see it is adding up, we have now saved £60 just on those 2 tips.

    To add to food tips, when I cooked the bolognaise sauce last might I substituted 50g of mince with 50g of red lentils. So 50g lentils plus 150g mince and a couple of slices of bacon cut into lardons. Always make a bit too much and have a tub in the freezer. After 3 or 4 mince meals we have a full meal in the freezer. Gives me a night off from cooking plus saves on food and fuel.

  • posted by Elle-Mae
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    😂S-G it’s like Christmas lights early.

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Elle, sounds lovely

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Just watched the TV programme 30 Money Saving Tips – channel 4 or 5, cant remember now. There were plenty we already know the this gave some facts to help like how much it costs to boil a full kettle rather than just enough for what you need. 30p for smaller amounts (i.e. 2 mugs) as opposed to 87p for a full kettle. Only talking pennies but they add up. Also the things with radiators and boilers I had to get hubby to watch as I didnt understand it all. It was not just about turning down your thermostat in a room but setting the boiler at a lower level so the radiators would reach a maximum heat quicker and turn off earlier. Bit complicated for me. But around 70% useful information. Even to what granny used to do, fill a stocking with old socks to make a snake draft excluder.

  • posted by Verano
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    Well done s-g on ‘rescuing’ all that food for your daughter and family. Not sure our children are as savvy as we are!
    Sorry the microwave ‘roast’ didn’t work out but I’m not really surprised. Sometimes I think it’s better to do a larger roast, in the oven, then freeze leftovers.
    For me SOUP is a saviour.
    Cheap to make, freezes easily, fills you up as a starter and is nutritious….. an amazing food. I made some soup purely from frozen vegetables that needed using up and it was lovely. Frozen vegetables are often cheaper than fresh and are ‘fresher’ than ‘fresh’ because they are frozen so quickly.
    I’ll bring the “soup” thread back up to the top and nave the cauliflower one as well!

  • posted by sunshine-girl
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    Just ordered an air fryer so I can cook a joint without using the oven. Seems strange to have to spend money to save it. 79€ so that is my months electricity bill – hopefully I will recoup that in a few months.

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