Classes teach families how to cut costs

Mar. 04, 2013 @ 11:48 PM

The economy is rough right now for many, so saving is a must. But in what ways can one save?

The first annual Frugal Living Fair at the King Family Library on Saturday endeavored to answer just that question, with several classes offered throughout the day "to help families learn to become more frugal, saving money, and allowing them to enjoy life even more with one another," the fair's mission statement read.

"It's to help them try to stretch it as far as they can," said organizer Tammie Browning, who has a Facebook page for couponing and frugal living. "This is a ministry for me."

Presentations included "Realistic Basic Couponing," "Savings in Sewing," "You Want Me to Shop Where?!" (yard sales, thrift and consignment shopping), as well as the monetarily titled "$avvy $olutions for $oaps and $CENTS."

During the "Saving Money with Homemade Meals" presentation, Linda Hyder of the UT Extension Office spoke about different ways of cutting costs by eating at home instead of going out.

One point she made was that planning meals ahead of time often saves on making an unnecessary trip for more food.

"That's the key, that's the key to answering that question at 4 o'clock," Hyder said. "If you've got a plan, you know what you're going to have for supper."

Another good tip was to "cook once, eat twice" — cooking one meal and then eating the leftovers later.

"If I've got something I started that morning, I'm going to finish it that night," Hyder said. "You can cook on the weekends, too."

She also discussed how to take seemingly random foods in your pantry and make a homemade meal, noting one can always find different recipes online or in cookbooks.

"Create a casserole. Look in the pantry and be creative," Hyder said. "Have fun. If it doesn't work out, so what? I'm sure Paula Dean made some things that didn't work out."

Hyder's presentation also touched on aspects of healthy eating. She emphasized the value of fruits and vegetables in a diet, advised to buy whole grain rice instead of white rice, and said beans are a good low-cost source of protein.

"One thing you may have heard about beans is that they are an incomplete source of protein; they are missing one of the amino acids," Hyder said. "But if you complement dry beans with a grain, like your rice or cornbread, it fills in that amino acid."

Hyder noted that you can often add fruits and vegetables to other foods to make them healthier, and to make sure none of your produce is going to waste. Vegetables can be added to soup, pizza, pasta and salad, among other foods.

"But if you like ranch dressing, and that's the only way you're going to eat those vegetables, that's fine. Have a little big," Hyder said. "Fortunately we have the low-fat (option)."