Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Money Saving Tip #2: Get to Know the Local Cuisine

While you are certainly going to want to bring your own recipes with you--especially for those times when you just need some comfort food--you will end up saving money if you're willing to branch out into the local cuisine. For example, as much as you may love chicken burritos and as cheap a meal as they may be at home, you will likely find them to be on the more expensive side of a meal cost in the UK. The reason is that most burrito fixin's here are specialty food items. Taco shells, tortillas, refried beans, black beans, tortilla chips, salsa--these are not part of a standard UK diet (at least as far as I can tell!). Even if you can find cheap substitutes for things, your burritos are not likely to taste how you had hoped. Black-eyed beans do NOT taste like pinto beans and a cheap jar of salsa may taste closer to a syrupy tomato jelly than a satisfying, fiery salsa.

By contrast, most Indian-style cuisine is remarkably cheap to make here. At little Indian stores you can buy a 5 kilo bag of lentils for so cheap that the cost per serving ends of being something like 6p. And, lentils are healthy, a good source of protein and quite tastey when prepared well.

Couscous, when purchased in bulk at Asian food stores is also a great deal, not to mention a great thing to have on hand because it's so quick to make.

"Cooking bacon" (quite a bit different from American bacon) is a really cheap way to get meat--if you're making soup, quiche, pasta or pizza, you'll find it's a great flavour booster.

These are just a couple of ideas. The cheap items in your area are likely to vary, so look around. The point is to try to incorporate the cheaper ingredients into your diet, rather than to stick to all your American recipes which may very well end up costing more.

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