When you live in Hawaii, you really need to watch how you use your resources. My biggest way to save money is through cooking most of my meals at home. I spend a fair amount of time doing meal prep for the work week and I rely on some basic grocery items that are filling and healthy. Prepping meals saves so much money and time, and I know exactly what goes into each one. Initially, I had to invest in some glass food-storage containers of various sizes for this, but it was well worth it. (I found that rectangle shaped containers were easiest to stack and organize in my freezer.) I put prepped breakfast burritos, lunches, crock pot ingredients, veggie burgers, etc. into the containers and freeze until needed. Some of my favorite ideas from around the web are saved on my meal prep Pinterest board at: https://www.pinterest.com/mybestislandlife/meal-prep-saved-my-life/
When I am finished with meal prepping, I usually have plenty of vegetable scraps and/or bones leftover. Rather than toss my scraps out to my chickens, I started making my own stocks and broths. (The chickens still get some of the boiled veggie scraps afterward.) It is not only a great way to save money, but it adds so much flavor to my dishes, and best of all, it’s free. The recipe can be found here: http://mybestislandlife.com/2017/09/13/waste-not-want-not
On the subject of chickens, it is very cost effective to keep chickens and not have to buy fresh, organic eggs from the store. It is super easy to build an inexpensive coop from recycled or upcycled materials, and supplements for feed, such as mealworms, can be cultivated at home with little effort. Raising mealworms can also be a great task or chore for young helpers! The gentle nature of chickens make it easy for someone with little no-how about animal behavior to forge a bond with their flock. For tips and ideas about raising chickens, check out my Pinterest board about My Sustainable Island Life.
Lastly, when I do have the occasion of going out to a restaurant, I tend to be picky about where I eat. I have a small list of local restaurants that are my favorites, but chain restaurants, are not on my list. When I do find good grinds, I say to myself, “I just have to re-create this at home.” I put my re-creations together by adding fresh local ingredients and a dash of healthy flair to create my best island-style recipe. Some of my favorite re-creations are the whole wheat bread bowl and Spam musubi.