Top Ten tips for a frugal January

I don't know about you, but every year the same thing happens and yet again, after Christmas, we're feeling the pinch!

It would seem that I have (ahem) rather overspent during the festive season, so we're determined to have a frugal January and get back on track.

Here at SFN Towers we're 'Eating the Freezer' - this is my favourite money saving tip and obviously we are eating the contents rather than the freezer itself!

It does make for some 'interesting' meals (think fish fingers served on a bed of crumpets with a side order of blackberries and courgettes.....) but staying out of the shops whenever possible, really does help when you're on an economy drive.

So what do you do when you need to economise? Let's get those suggestions coming in and see if we can create an SFN Top Ten of money saving ideas!

during the summer autumn months I always cook for 4 (only 2 of us) and put 2 meals in the freezer also turn all our vegetables in sauces and soups come winter spring we also eat the freezer, this saves on a lot of cooking time ,also when I shop in the S/A I buy extra flour pasta rice and other dried goods to fill the pantry, make sure all the gas bottles are full so no need to do the half hour each way drive for shopping each week as we only go once a month in the winter if that. In the S/A we cut down trees and chop our logs all ready for the next winter... so no buying heating , Having a dry January and thinking so far that we are not missing it we may also have a dry feb saving a lot on beer and wine . For Christmas we buy each other books and hobby ideas , so we spend all our winter evenings in keeping warm and busy . I think we are probably very frugal any how most of the time so its harder for us to get much more ...... But since the week before Christmas except for the gaz and electric we have used we have not spent one penny and dont intend to until my monthly shop first week in feb ..

Its easy - the children have all gone back to their internat or to uni so the water and electricity bill will plummet and there might even be a biscuit left for me!!

Exactly, why else go to the bother of eating frogs' legs, so much hard work ;-) Before potatoes, maize and other goodies came to Europe from the Andean regions of South America it was harder so far more grain was used, the first big new thing was what is called buckwheat in English, Saraceno or Sarrasin from the fertile areas of the Middle East which is when 'modern' food began with the diversification of pasta and bread making, then rice arrived, then the humble potato but all failed so that there were famines of the new staples and cooking adapted to scarcity. We have generally forgotten real 'peasant' cookery. It is fantastic, I prefer most of it to modern cuisine. Little meat, lots of things thrown together in the pot one after the other so that the hard to cook things are in longest through to delicate things last , et voila one of many versions of the minestre that can be sold in small bowls at great prices as minestrone with everything cooked together in a horrible mash American style. Ugh!

Brian minestrone is another brilliant recipe. I think there are different version some include legumes like peas and white beans. We normally threw in the grana hard skin and let it cook. The Lucky one would get that piece :)

The remarkable part about italian, french and generally european paysant cuisine is that it developed around poor ingredients. "Cucina Povera". People had to be very creative and use "everything" they had at disposal to satisfy their families. That's why we use intestines, after taking a closer look one realizes that they are not only tasty but super nutrient rich.

If you have a look at american food you can see that they mainly lack creativity and diversity. One reason because food was so plenty (buffalos) so they throw away many parts. Its just recently that the american are developing a more gourmet cuisine and starting to become creative in the process.

So key again is to save money learn to cook :)

As Ivan says, pasta fagioli, (should be pasta e fagioli, but in in our house dialect makes it pasta fagiol) is brilliant but then go a step further into Alpine region winter food and make minestrone, pasta with Swiss chard, papet vaudois, pizzoccheri or risotto of anything you can put your hands on. Lentils are great, so too most dried beans and 'creative' curries. If there are things like bread and cakes in the freezer, mash them up, add a lot of milk and an egg or too and there you have that wonderful (in my case addictive) bread pudding.

I have just made a spicy lentil and vegetable casserole, which will last us for two days.
We are also bribging a joint of pork out of the feezer and that will keep us for a few days as well.

I just made a classical dish called Pasta Fagioli omitting the pasta.

Beans (cheap) , Onion/Garlic, Tomato Sauce (canned = cheap) , some lard or bacon for the non-veggies here.

Very protein-rich , filling , satisfying and super convenient.

I think stocking up on bulk foods is key: If i know I have beans and carbs I can go for months.

I grow my own greens indoors (sunflower sprouts and wheatgrass).

I should cut down on booze too as we have had quite luxurious wine testing here: I'm talking about a 33 € bottle for xmas and everything else in a 8-13 € / bottle range ! :D

Happy New Year to all !! That 2016 bring you all that you need, and a bit of what you want also :)

And yes, eating out of the freezer here too, it needs to be emptied and cleaned, so my traditional month for this is January. Helps in all departments :) For drinking, we don't drink much at all, maybe one bottle a week so I am not bothered about leaving out the alcohol. I like my glass of wine on a Friday night!

For the rest, yes, staying out of the shops and off the internet shopping sites!

Try your best to not be tempted by the word SOLDES ! ouch

We've cut out booze – needed to anyway after the family guests left – and that helps a lot. We've been lucky with the weather here in the south so haven't needed to build fires every night, firewood is sooo expensive.

I daresay we'll join the rest of you in eating from the freezer, I remember we'd no electricity during a flooded-in period so we had to and the soup lasted for a week, adding something new to it every day.

Shop every 8 days instead of weekly.

When I lived in France after Uni my landlady ate home-made soup every day except at Christmas - one potato to thicken, one onion to flavour and any other veg to colour. A useful tip I always gave my students.

I'm eating out of the freezer and store cupboards for the next two weeks. Only buying bread and wine.

Bonne Année.

Yes, soups are definitely a good thing. I think eating from the freezer demands a bit of preparation, apart from the obvious of defrosting the food. It's worth researching new recipes from all those cookbooks you have on the shelf and haven't looked at for ages and creating new favourites rather than the same old same old. Save on logs, burn your Christmas tree. Make it a dry January - save on alcohol. Swap books with a friend instead of buying new. Only shop once a week so you're not tempted so often. Make your own bread so you don't have to shop every day. Sort through one cupboard a week and advertise or chuck things you no longer need. Eat less meat so that meals automatically become cheaper. Happy New Year!

Soup glorious soup.

An excellent soup is something to look forward to.

Plan. Shopping and your routes. Drop off New Year cards on the way.

Like you, eat from the freezer. Find new recipes on the net. Turn down the heating, if possible and wear a thick jumper.