I love being able to go to the cupboards, fridge or freezer and decide what we're going to eat on the day. Sometimes only half an hour before we're going to eat. This doesn't aid being frugal as I think the best way to be frugal is to plan your meals and use up every last scrap that you have in the house. I obviously have to plan our global meals but all others tend to be ad-hoc.
A few years ago we berated ourselves for being so wasteful with food. My husband used to joke that I stayed up until midnight and then anything that went out of date from a minute past midnight went in the bin. I wasn't quite that bad! But I do remember a lot of stuff going in the bin. Shameful! We got better and I started using up things that were starting to turn.
At this point I should be hanging my head in shame as I admit that the pigs cheek which I collected from the butcher two weeks ago sat in the fridge unbrined until it had to be thrown away. I kept telling Hubby that it would be fine, knowing full well it wouldn't, he went to the butcher on Saturday morning and told them I hadn't brined it. I'm sure what ensued was a little characterassassination of yours truly. Anyway, he ordered some more and this time the butcher is brining it. I'm a little disappointed as I wanted to do the brining but maybe I never would have got round to it. Not this side of Christmas anyway. I've been going to that butcher on and off since the age of 21 when I left home. I haven't been in since my husband's visit! I can see them all now, tutting and laughing as I next walk in.
Anyway.... I have found that to accommodate my need to cook what I feel like at the time and tie in with being frugal that I have to be ready to cook up any and all food that's on the turn. It's a lot easier in Winter as soups and stews are so easy to throw together. Though it can be just as easy in the Summer, you just have to be prepared to cook things which you wouldn't necessarily cook normally. Braised lettuce and lettuce soup springs to mind. Herbs freeze quite well too.
One thing I did the other day which went down very well was to make a plum cake with some plums that were far too ripe to eat uncooked.
Very simple, using the old favourite that you can make without thinking - 4,4,4,2 sponge mix poured over halved plums and one halved greengage.
This was an all round winner! We used up the plums, we had cake for a couple of days, always a bonus, and the children got to do an activity with Mummy not using expensive craft supplies.
What's your favourite way to be frugal?