Sowing the seeds of great money-saving ideas

Can you make your weekly shop go further?

Can you make your weekly shop go further? - Credit: Archant

Sheena Grant’s year of living thriftily

It’s amazing the thoughts that occur to you when you’re trying to live a little less wastefully.

After losing the battle of the compost heap to a family of rats last week (I really can’t go into it again if you missed it the first time round) and lamenting the amount of leftover food that emanates from my son’s plate, I badly needed some thrifty success.

And what better place to start than seeking inspiration from the inventiveness of others. Take, for instance, my colleague, Steve, who manages to get two cups of tea from every tea bag rather than the wasteful one I use for each cuppa. Or the tips that have been coming in from readers who reuse food remnants to create tasty and nutritious meals, thereby cutting waste and costs.

After totting up the amount of food I jettisoned in just a few days (the remains of a punnet of raspberries, a couple of rotten tomatoes, half a tub of houmous and a handful of shrivelled grapes lurking at the back of the fridge) I looked for some sage advice to none other than a peer of the realm, who, it turns out, is an advocate of thrift.


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Lord Deben, a former environment secretary and Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, is now chairman of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change. He told an audience at the Suffolk Creating the Greenest County Awards ceremony last week that because of climate change, feeding and clothing everyone on the planet would soon be a difficult business and urged individuals and communities to take action through local food production, community energy projects and waste reduction. It wouldn’t just be good for the community, or even the world, he said. It would be good for us too as it would save money.

I pondered all this one evening as I stood in my kitchen, chopping up a red pepper.

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Usually, when I do this, I get really annoyed by the silly little seeds that attach themselves to everything I don’t want them to attach themselves to. But on this occasion I had a bit of a eureka moment. Why didn’t I save the seeds to grow my own peppers? After that, the ideas kept coming. I also salvaged some tomato seeds and even an orange pip.

And what about the crusts of bread I normally throw out when the rest of the loaf has been used? Perhaps I can use them as breadcrumbs on homemade fishcakes rather than buying a tub of orange crumb coating from the supermarket. A couple of black bananas got used in a cake and a batch of leftover bolognaise sauce got turned into a lasagne. I was flying!.

Feeling pleased with myself I fell into a dreamy sleep that night, only to be woken at 4am by the boiler making strange noises. I got up to investigate and found the hot tap in the bathroom still running from when I’d done my self-satisfied bedtime ablutions five hours before.

Share your money-saving tips on twitter, using #ThriftyLiving, email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk or write to me at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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