The start of a New Year is the time when we think about money. After an expensive Christmas we like to look forward to a summer holiday, but wondering how to pay for it tends to focus the mind to our finances. Saving money seems a chore, the snow outside makes me feel like internet shopping for jumpers, warm boots and gallons of hot choclate, so the idea of scrimping and saving is hard.
It’s the thought of saving; scrimping and sacrificing, that makes us fail, according to the experts. Instead we should be thinking about spending wisely or ‘spending well to save well’. This is the mantra of ‘Kakeibo’, the Japanese art of being wise with your money through the practice of keeping a financial journal. The practice has hit the headlines this year thanks to the release of the book ‘The Japanese Art of Saving Money‘. The book is a good read, scooping up ideas and everyday practices from a nation famed for its stylish simplicity.
I’d like to think that I’m good with finances but I’m human, so whether its posh Porridge at Claridges or sipping the finest Japanese teas, I like to splash out. So I have warmly embraced the daily practice of Kakeibo to budget for the good things in life. When it comes to Porridge, and with me it always comes back to Porridge 😀 I have a few practices that help me save money on breakfast and I’d like to share them with you. So if you’d rather be a fat cat than hungry as the poor church mouse, read on….
1. Always eat breakfast
You might think that skipping a meal saves you money but think again. Racing out the door on an empty stomach will have you reaching for sugary snacks by mid-morning that are not only unhealthy, but expensive.
2. Make your own
Porridge pots and single serving sachets are really handy, and great to keep in your work draw for emergencies, but priced gram for gram are really expensive. For example at one on-line supermarket you can buy plain oats at 10.9p per 100g whereas a Porridge pot can cost up to a staggering £3.32!!! for the same weight.
3. Buy in bulk
Which brings me on to point three; the more you buy, the cheaper the oats will be. I buy in bulk to save money from; special offers at the supermarket to sacks of jumbo oats from Mornflake, and big bags of oatmeal from Hamlyns. You can even find special offers at places like Poundshop that recently had boxes of organic oats for their standard £1. And don’t forget independent retailers, who often have offers for buying in bulk.
4. Travel pots
Whilst Porridge pots cost £££ a travel pot will save you a lot. I bought my Porridge pot several years ago and have never looked back. I use mine two ways; at the weekend I cook up extra Porridge, pop it in the pot, place it in the fridge and then give a quick warm through in the microwave on a Monday morning. Or you can use the pot to cook Porridge from scratch at home to travel with, or in the microwave at work. With a good secure lid its easy to travel with or stops any lava like Porridge over flows in the works microwave.
Another tip these types of plastic pots are often on special offer so have a little look round on the internet.
5. Cost effective way to five a day
Buying oats in bulk is a good idea, buy bags of pears, bananas or any soft fruits isn’t because they just don’t keep. One way to make sure you don’t waste money is by not wasting food and the best way to use up squishing fruit it to pop it on your Porridge. Here are my three favourite ways to use up overripe fruits;
Cook really ripe bananas into oats for a sweet Porridge,
Slice juicy soft pears straight on to cooking oats and add a few toasted hazelnuts,
Pulp soft fruits to make a perfect purée for Porridge.
I hope these tips help fund your summer holiday, to somewhere warm and relaxing. After all this snow, your going to need it!