Eat Well, Save More by Cath Armstrong


Eat Well, Save More by Cath Armstrong has some great tips for saving money and good recipes.

When I was young and very poor, I had an envelope system for my budget. Every week, I put $20 into envelopes marked electricity, car rego, insurance and so on. If I recall, I budgeted $70 per week for groceries (meat, vegies, dry goods, cleaning stuff, chocolate) but only used to shop every eight days, so that every once in a while I had a windfall of $70 fall into my lap. It was a great system.

I also made up a meal planner. The idea was, I’d have something worked out for every dinner for six weeks (sometimes it was something simple like eggs on toast or tinned tomato soup) and then I would just repeat as required. The plan was, there would be a good nutritional balance and I would be able to take advantage of specials in the supermarket by stockpiling.

It was a long time ago now, but it worked. I forget why I stopped.

Cath Armstrong has done all of the hard work for her readers, by making templates of grocery tracking spread sheets (the idea is that you fill in the prices of the products you buy so that you know when they are due to come on special again), suggesting low cost menus and things to do with leftovers.

There is also the idea of eating out of the pantry for a week and getting rid of all of the bits and pieces that have been ignored for too long. I could probably eat out of my pantry for several months. I do stockpile groceries on special to save money, but I also worry about the shops being shut (like on Christmas Day) and my family and I starving while we wait for them to re-open (on Boxing Day).

The recipes in Eat Well, Save More are very good too, all ordinary food that you don’t need to make a special trip to the shops for. I’ve copied down the author’s recipe to make Swedish Meatballs, a Vegie Quiche using leftovers and a few other bits and pieces.

I’ve also copied down the author’s recipes for vanilla extract, sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar. With the amount of biscuits, cakes and puddings I bake, these could save me a fortune.

My only problem with the book is the suggested serving sizes, which would not fill up He Who Eats All of Our Leftovers, who is a mountain of a man and needs more on his plate than skinny, little blokes. The author does state very firmly somewhere that you must stick to the serving sizes otherwise the budget will be blown and there will be nothing left to make leftovers with, but the reality in my household is, that won’t be happening. The family would mutiny.

I’m going to make the Mexican Haystack thing from the book for tea tonight, as I have everything in the pantry. I’ll have to go the shops tomorrow to replenish though, otherwise I’ll be traumatised looking at the gaps in the pantry. I’ll also have a look at the Cheapskates Club website, for more money saving tips from Cath Armstrong. I believe she has a recipe for her own washing powder, which costs around $10 for a year’s worth. That is a huge saving.

This book is well worth a look. The recipes are good and the money saving tips are even better.