Shopping for one

Getting used to shopping for one when you’ve been part of a couple for so long can be difficult, as YOURLifeChoices subscriber, Anne, has discovered. There are ways to make your money go further and the experience more enjoyable.

Q. Anne
I am a recent widow, of 14mths, I would love to see some fat free recipes for one, I have a friend who also has the same problem. I find myself either cooking for two or not being bothered to eat much. I have found myself cooking a roast and sharing it with the dogs, who think its heaven. I also need advice on how to shop economically for one, I find that I over buy and throw out.

A. Making the leap to shopping and cooking for two to just one can be difficult and take time. Following a few of the simple steps below can get you on the right track.

Make a list
One of the simplest ways to cut your shopping bill and the time spent shopping is by making a list and sticking to it. Take it one-step further, list your meals for the whole week, and only buy the things you need to make these dishes. Use the supermarket discount catalogues that come through your letterbox to find the best deals on what you need.

Alter recipes
You may be put off some recipes as they are for two or four people. Try cutting a recipe down to size, freezing the second portion or splitting it with a friend. Taking turns at cooking for each other can be fun and cost effective. If you don’t have a host of recipes to hand, get yourself a basic cookbook. It doesn’t have to be one by the latest celebrity chef, one from an op shop or garage sale will do just as well. Once you get a little more confidence with cooking the recipes, you’ll be able to change them to suit your tastes and requirements.

Bulk buying
On the face of it, buying in bulk can seem the cheapest way to stock up but you need to be realistic about what you are going to use before it spoils. Why not get together with a few friends once a month and do a bulk shopping together, splitting your purchases and the cost.

Expiration dates
Supermarkets will put the products with the closest expiration dates to the front of the display, great if you’re going to be using the product within a few days. If you want a product that will last longer, look to the back of the shelf.

Portion control
If there’s a piece of meat or fish or a large cauliflower or cabbage that would be just too much for you, ask the stores butcher or greengrocer to cut it for you and charge you accordingly.

Closing time bargains
The best bargains are to be found just before a store closes or when it is planning to be closed for a public holiday. Buying your meat, fish etc at these times and freezing them is a great way to save money and is a good time to try the little luxuries that you can’t otherwise afford.

Avoid processed and convenience foods
Not only are these expensive but they’re not altogether healthy. With a little planning you can make most of these items yourself for less money and they’ll probably be tastier.

Never shop hungry or lonely
Most people know never to shop hungry as you’re more likely to over buy or buy food you don’t really need or want. Also, shopping when feeling a bit blue or down can result in sugar and fat laden purchases. Gear yourself up for a trip to the shops or share the burden with a friend.

Grown your own
By far the cheapest and most rewarding way to get the freshest, tastiest produce to your table. You don’t need a lot of space; you just need to plan your planting wisely.

Shop from home
If you’re just too tempted by the rows of food on offer, do your shopping online. Most large supermarkets will deliver to your area and you’ll only get the food you order! There is a small charge for delivery but considering travel costs, it can be worth it in the end.

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