Can Frugal Living Beat Inflation?
Of course, based on individual item costs versus diminishing quantities, the rate of inflation on some goods is many, many times that stated. I mean, look at the price of cheap minced beef. The pack sizes have not only reduced to 400g but the prices have increased by as much as 25% in some cases. Even tins of corned beef might be beyond the most frugal of grocery budgets nowadays!
Another thing that really bugs me about all these shrinking pack sizes is that we are being driven headlong into a waste not, want not spiral that's going the completely wrong way! Rather than companies reducing their packaging, which they do appear to be trying to do, they are now forcing us into buying twice as much, because one single pack no longer feeds the household! This matters not a jot if you are buying your fruit, veg and fresh produce loose, but onthe whole, disposal of packaging remains a major problem - unless we simply pass the problem on to the Government by binning everything and then wonder why services need cut to cope with the increased costs.
We now need to get even more creative with our grocery buying, batch cooking and recycling. What can we do with all these extra plastic cartons while, at the same time, trying to shop for bargains and buy sufficient quantities to feed the family?
Well, one thing I am now doing is keeping each carton I buy - why should I have to pay for something that's discarded straight into the bin?
As soon as the contents have been prepared, it's a simple case of refilling the original container for storing the food in the freezer. (Additional point of interest - keep mushrooms dry and wipe or brush them clean, rather than peel them or wash them. You get more out of the pack.)
These containers work well for most things except onions, as they aren't strong enough to seal and prevent the smell leaching through into your freezer.
A word of caution on storing food in recycled cartonss - always, always, always wash and sterilise the empty containers before refilling them and don't pour hot food into them, as most are so flimsy that they'd probably melt.
By reducing our food waste, reusing anything we can and recycling everything that can possibly be recyclyed, we can, in actual fact, get creative enough to beat our own household inflation.