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Day 138: Buying ingredients, not pre-manufactured things

You guys, I just decided on a new Shopping Detox rule:

Buy ingredients, rather than prefabricated food items (exceptions: bread, pasta, other things that I can't think of right now).

I was inspired to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, because I just started reading Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, by Judith Levine, and this is one of her rules. Her project was not, like mine, to pay off debt by becoming financially intelligent, but rather to make a post-modern statement about consumerism. But she wound up saving $8,000 so she must be onto something.

I'm still going to eat up the pre-manufactured things which I already own, obviously, because it's neither frugal not thrifty to throw out pre-packaged pasta sauces, frozen pizzas or french fries. But for future buying purposes, I will no longer buy: potato chips (but rather, potatoes!), packaged cookies (but rather, flour and... whateverelse goes in cookies), and that sort of thing.

Oh, and before I forget, this month's issue of Cosmo advocates going shopping when you have to pee. There was a study that showed that people made smarter financial decisions when they have to pee. Challenge accepted! I will go on a full-bladder shopping trip sometime soon and will report back.

Maybe I will also make a rule about wearing only heels when grocery shopping.

I was also partially inspired by The Frugal Girl's post today about How To Save Money on Groceries Without Coupons, which really made a lot of sense to me. One of her rules is "Buy ingredients, not meals," which is what I am going to try to do.

This will take a lot more time, I know. It's quick and easy to buy a box of cookies, but time-consuming to ensure I have all the ingredients, and mix them and bake them and cool them and then eat them (OK, I usually skip the "cool them" part, and start eating once it's in dough form). So... we'll see how this all goes.

I was also partially inspired by Leslie from 27 and Frugal, who posted about Only Buy What You Can Carry. And OK, I already do this due to necessity (i.e. I don't have a driver's license) but it's another good way to keep from spending too much money. Full arms = instant budget.

And OK, it's also based on my sudden affection for Top Chef Canada (go Todd! And Dale! And Connie!), and the whole Top Chef franchise (how is it I have never watched this show before? SO MANY SEASONS TO CATCH UP ON!!). Those guys make cooking with ingredients look fun and yummy.

Todd is from Nfld and cooks with seal flipper and moose meat. I love him.

So anyway. We'll see how this goes. Well, I hope? Got to go work on knitting a sparkley hat now, ttfn.


savingfortravel said...

I haven't blogged about it but this year for me is my "year of making things from scratch"

So far I have learnt how to make bread, buttermilk, biscuits, endless soups, french food, italian food, home made pasta, dips.

I still want to make my own pastry, naan bread, some italian breads, sushi, more asian dishes and the list goes on.

I'm not a doom or gloomer or a ranting hippy but there is something so enjoyable about actually KNOWING how to make items. I love being able to pull food together from scratch from my pantry now instead of going to the shops for the jar of pre-packaged sauce to mix in with some pre-cut meat and veggies.

Annabelle said...

I really love cooking too! I'm starting out with just stirfrys and cookies and that sort of thing, but I want to learn to make pasta sauce for sure.

~Carla~ said...

I cook most of our stuff from scratch too... Over the last week I've made 4 loaves of bread, kaiser rolls, brownies, etc... it taste better & is healthier and easier on your pocketbook! Good luck! :)

Helen said...

Here's a delicious cookie recipe that's pretty much the easiest recipe ever:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups mix-in (see below)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
-Add in wet ingredients.
-Mix in whatever "mix-in" you choose.
-Grease a 13"x9" pan, spread mixture into the pan, and bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the dough are golden brown.
-Wait for the cookies to cool for a few minutes, then cut into bars.

You can mix in chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, caramel chips, mint chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc. or any combination of such things. My favorite combinations are half and half dark chocolate chips and mint chip, or half and half white chocolate chips with dried cranberries. Yum!

You can also refrigerate or freeze the cookies, and they'll last pretty much forever- they're great to take out to defrost the morning of having friends over that night... or a stressful night of studying. Hah.



Annabelle said...

Ooh, thanks for the recipe, Helen! That's amazing you can throw any mix-in you want.. so it can be chocolate chip, oatmeal, anything! Versatile.

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