One of the most frugal things you can do is to cook at home. It’s one of the basic tenants of FI – “cut down on your 3 biggest costs – housing, transportation and FOOD.
Last night I came home from a day at school. It was an annoying day for me because the rest of Australia had a public holiday for ANZAC Day, but my year 12’s seized on the opportunity to have a day of rehearsals for the play we’re putting on next week. So their
stupid ultra-professional teacher gave up her precious day public holiday to drive to work and watch them perform ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ – twice over.
When I came home at 6 PM I was tired. I knew that the boys would be home for dinner and when I walked through the door, nothing was cooking. I was so tempted to send one of them down to get some fish and chips – but I’d already done that twice in the holidays for 2 sets of international visitors. I sighed and opened the fridge to see what we had.
There was a packet of garlic bread that I’d bought for some lunch guests on the holidays. I’d forgotten to throw into the oven with the lasagne I’d made. Of course! I’ll throw together a quick pasta sauce, (do I have some frozen meatballs in the freezer??), and the meal will be done.
Turns out I DID have some meatballs. The boys were rapt. I also had the very last of the tomatoes I grew in the veggie garden. I’d thrown them whole into a plastic bag in the freezer, where they’d rolled around like hard red golf balls ever since.
I weighed them on the Thermomix, (see the light glinting on their frosty surfaces?), let them thaw ever so slightly and then threw them into the Thermomix to cook the sauce. It’s a meal that I’ve made a million times before so I was pretty much on auto-pilot. I poured a shiraz, cooked the meatballs in the air-fryer and popped the garlic bread into the oven for 10 minutes to cook. The smells were delectable.
Afterwards, I realised that if I had’ve sent the boys to get fish and chips, that dinner would’ve come in at just under $30.
Instead? The meatballs were just under $4. The pasta was 60c. The garlic bread was the ‘gourmet’ sort because I was buying it for visitors, so it was around $4. The sauce and the sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top would’ve been around $2, due to the home-grown veggies and herbs in it.
With the addition of the garlic bread, which we don’t usually do, that meal was around 1/3 of the price of the takeaway meal. Imagine how much cheaper it normally is?
And honestly, considering all of the appliances I used to cook it, the home-made meal was equally as convenient to organise.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I forget this.
Simple, home-made food should definitely be the fall-back position.