Ten tricks to contain spending in times of crisis


If we want to find a positive effect of the economic crisis, it is the increasingly widespread tendency of Italians to contain food waste. At home or on vacation, you pay more attention to what you put in the shopping cart, you keep aside the leftovers from the dinner for the "schiscetta" of the next day and you think twice about throwing a fresh fruit into the dustbin dented. Nevertheless, in Italy 10 million tons of food are wasted every year, as it would be enough to guarantee the nutrition of 44 million people. After having suggested some tricks to conserve fruit and vegetables even at high summer temperatures, let's take a cue from a practical handbook provided by Coldiretti to save up to 50% on spending, without giving up some whim but simply paying attention to how one buys (and what you have in the fridge).

1- Plan the meals, plan the shopping. It may seem a little excessive, but getting an idea of ​​what you intend to consume during the week will help you avoid wasting food and choose the supermarket or shop with the offer that best suits our needs. Do you have a fish dinner in mind? Keep an eye on the fish of the day. Almost leaving for holidays? Avoid filling the refrigerator with yoghurts and cold cuts that you may not have time to finish before closing the house.

2- Choose local and seasonal products. In addition to weighing heavily in terms of environmental costs, transporting food from one end of the boot to the other (and the world) is felt in our pockets: all the fault of expensive fuel (find out how to save on gasoline). According to Coldiretti, an average meal covers 1, 900 kilometers by road, plane or boat before landing on our table. The result? A real drain on a product that is already partly decayed and will last less long. Buying zero kilometer products will guarantee us healthier and more durable foods.

3- Prefer loose products. Buying a packet of carrots already neatly stored in a polystyrene tray will make you spend on average 30% more than the same carrots bought in bulk. Arm yourself with patience then and opt for do-it-yourself bags.

4- Go directly to the source. Why always go to the supermarket when you can reach certified farms that are competitive for quality and prices, often not far from home? On the Italian territory there are 5683 Campagna Amica points for the direct sale of agricultural products. To find out which ones are closest to your home or which are specific to different food products, click here.

5- Develop the green thumb. There are those who are more or less brought for gardening, but with the seeds or seedlings already ready it is now very easy to grow in the garden - or on the balcony - tomatoes, aromatic herbs, peppers and vegetables that were once seen only in the open countryside. You will not have to buy them at the supermarket (and you will be sure not to have them pesticides).

6- Prepare homemade food. Kneading a loaf of bread in your kitchen requires only a little training but guarantees considerable savings (several hundred euros a year, depending on the consumption of bread per household), not to mention that the home-made sandwiches will last longer long. You can play around and try to make even yogurt, cakes, jams and canned fruit and vegetables yourself.

7- Do not waste. That is, check the labels before putting a product in the cart, and use the leftovers to prepare recovery dishes: meatballs, omelettes, savory pies. The classic poor dishes that always look great.

8- Buy in a group. Become part of a solidarity buying group (Gas) to buy more quantities of products at convenient prices, or form yourself by involving friends and relatives.

9- Rediscover grandma's recipes. When meat was a luxury too, lesser and cheaper cuts were preferred with which to prepare boiled meat, ragù, stewed meat … not only fillet, walnut and rump, therefore, but also the brisket - a third-class cut excellent for meatballs - or the muscle, ideal for shanks.

10 - Start cooking. Spending more time in the kitchen will save you up to five times more than those who mainly buy ready meals. And you'll keep the quality of the ingredients under control.

Do you already put some or all of these things into practice? What are your spending-saving and anti-waste tricks? Leave your comment!