Planning and buying ahead
From a practical standpoint, when you live in the country, it is necessary to have provisions in your larder. This means to have food purchased ahead of time and stored, which saves trips to town. I know of city people who go to the store several times a week to buy whatever strikes their fancy for a given meal. Country people know to keep enough on hand to alleviate those trips. Buy a stand-alone freezer and use it. The freezer inside a refrigerator doesn’t hold much. When you have a freezer, you can readily take advantage of sales on items you want, saving money as well as time.
Learn how to make substitutions in a recipe; the information is all online as well as in many cookbooks. An example is if a cake recipe calls for buttermilk and you haven’t any, there is no need to run to town. Measure your regular milk then add one tablespoon of lemon juice. Using substitutions is a good thing to know. If a recipe calls for a specific brand of butter, realize that is only because that butter company is using this recipe as advertising; butter is butter and the brand doesn’t matter. Don’t think you have to run all over town or even to a larger city, to find that exact brand. To test this, the next time you’re in the grocery store, read the label on two different brands of butter. The ingredients are the same; the butter I have on hand lists these ingredients: pasteurized cream and salt. That’s it. Unsalted butter is available in the case next to the salted butter. It’s your choice.
There are times when a substitution isn’t workable. Instead of driving to the store for it, put it on your grocery list for the next time you go. You save valuable time as well as resources. Be flexible with your meal plans. If a recipe calls for pinto beans, can you use the kidney beans you have on hand instead? Who knows, maybe the change will become a favorite.
Read the grocery ads that come with your local newspaper. Check your grocery stock and see what you need to purchase. Getting items on sale is a great help and while you’re at it, throw an extra one or more in the cart to add to your pantry.
Living in the country, you learn to look ahead and make grocery lists whether on paper or in your cell phone. Impulse purchases, usually the “Oh, that looks good!” type, can increase your monthly food expenses by 25 percent. Those are expensive impulses. When you shop several times a week, the unplanned purchases lead to major increases in expended funds. The list is a guide, not set in stone. When you see an item that is not on your list, but you remember you just ran out of it, pick it up. It will save you an extra trip.
If you moved from a town or city you may have to break some old habits, and you will be glad you did so in the long run.
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