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Posts Tagged ‘credit crunch’

Is it possible to make your own takeaway food for less than you’d pay for it readymade? In my new ‘make it or buy it’ challenge, I’ll be finding out this week.

Despite pursuing a more frugal lifestyle, I still occasionally have a weakness for a good takeaway. Sometimes there’s nothing better than kicking back on a Friday night, putting your feet up and leaving the cooking to somebody else. Every week I get at least ten leaflets pushed through my door for pizza delivery companies, Chinese and Indian takeaways. But are we paying too much? Is it possible to make your own ‘takeaway style’ food at home for less which might also be healthier or better quality too? Despite people cutting back on takeaways during the credit crunch, delivery pizzas have remained popular. This week, as part of my make it or buy it challenge, I thought I’d investigate by making my own homemade pizza and comparing the price and quality to the takeaway versions.

Making a pizza at home is so quick and simple that I’m surprised more of us don’t do it instead of ordering them in or buying them readymade from the supermarket. If you have a bread-maker then it’s even easier to do so because you can get the bread-maker to mix and knead the dough while you put your feet up and have a cup of tea. To make my pizza I mixed 300g (11 oz) of strong white bread flour with 1/2 a teaspoon of fast acting yeast, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 15g (1/2 oz) of butter, 1 tablespoon of milk powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and 210 ml of water.

When the dough was ready, I rolled it out on a floured surface and shaped it into a 10 inch (25 cm) circle – well, roughly so, as I was pretty hopeless at getting it into a pure round. Then I spread a few tablespoons of tomato puree across the pizza base with a knife. Next I cut up some vegetables, including our very first courgette of the season from our garden, and mushrooms.

To give it a meaty flavour, in place of pepperoni I threw in some slices of dried pork sausage that DJ likes to eat on top. Then, to prevent them from burning, I coated the vegetable and meat slices in a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before placing them on top of the pizza and sprinkling some grated cheese on top. Lastly, I put the pizza on a baking tray and put it in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees C (gas mark 7) for about 20 minutes until it was ready. I served it with some mixed lettuce leaves from our garden and some fresh chopped basil – also grown by DJ.

I was a bit nervous when I took it out of the oven. Would it taste as delicious as the pizzas you can get delivered? Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t bad. The toppings were really fresh and tasty and it actually tasted like a pizza that you might buy. There also wasn’t that greasy sensation that you sometimes get from pizzas that have been delivered. I think this is probably a slightly healthier option, depending on how much of it you eat. However, it was a little bit doughy in the middle and took a bit longer to cook than I expected, so I think next time I’ll use half the amount of dough and make a thinner crust pizza.

However, how did it stack up price wise? Here’s a rough breakdown, dividing up the cost per kg of each item by the amount used. While our courgette was ‘free’, I’ve given it a nominal value due to the cost of maintaining our veg garden:

Flour – 22p
Yeast – 5p
Sugar – 1p
Butter – 7p
Milk powder – 2p
Courgettes – 20p
Mushrooms – 20p
Saucison sec – 50p
Tomato puree – 4p
Cheese – 42p
Olive oil – 25
Total: £1.98

To have a similar pizza delivered by my local delivery company would have cost me £13.99, so we definitely saved some money, even allowing for the energy cost of baking the pizza. The only downside was having to make it myself (and do the significant amount of washing up it created, too) – obviously the point of having a takeaway is not to have to cook – but it’s not a difficult meal to make.

Later in the week I’ll be investigating other takeaway options and whether it’s more cost effective to buy them in or make them ourselves. Hope you can join me then!

Do you make your own homemade pizzas? What are your favourite recipes and how much money do you save by making your own? Leave a message and let me know.

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For those still a little bit baffled by how the credit crisis started and then snowballed I recommend you spend 11 minutes watching this video. The concepts are very simply explained including: leverage, collaterised debt obligation and sub-prime. The knowledge will help you become a better investor in the future so that you can better understand the true risk of your investments.

Much kudos to creator Jonathan Jarvis. You can also visit the official website for the videos.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

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Boost you income
Why not take on a part time job in the evening after your regular work, or even on a weekend, sure you’ll have less time to watch television or spend time with the family but think of the extra money in your pocket that could pay for a nice holiday or just help pay off those debts. Renting out a room in your house if it’s going spare is another great way of boosting your income, and the money you gain will be tax-free under the government’s rent-a-room scheme.

Insure your income
Insuring your income is a great idea during a recession as if you lose your job the insurance can cover payments on your mortgage for up to a year. The Government will also help homeowners who lose their jobs by paying the interest on mortgages of up to £200,000 from the 13th week after being made redundant. Mortgage protection can cover your repayments but make sure you check the small print as they have very specific terms.

Get a good credit card
Card issuers are pushing up their prices and also reducing their interest free periods so it is vital that you pay off consumer and credit card debts. Switching to a cheaper card is normally the best option and if you’re not in debt then have a think about switching to a cash back card that will give you back a percentage of the money you spend. If you are getting squeezed by those credit card companies and in need of debt help then make sure you shop around wisely for the best options as the recession is limiting them and debt help can be harder to come by.

Overpay your mortgage
If you can afford it then try to overpay your mortgage, Not only will this cut the term of your mortgage considerable and save you lots of money in the long run but will also means that if you do run into difficulties then you can take a payment holiday.

Change your savings
Savings rates have dropped dramatically with them being at the lowest in the history of saving, but there are still accounts that give you more than the base rate. There are still accounts out there that give 4% which is not too far away from the 6-8% we were getting last summer.

Get better insurance
Insurance is a necessity and you can always get cheaper and better insurance for your home/car. All you have to do is not accept that renewal quote, use comparisons sites or call your insurer and tell them you’re leaving as you’ve found a better bargain. They will offer you a better deal, and you can always haggle with them a bit more to get that low price. The same works for Sky TV and mobile phones just call them up and say you don’t want it anymore and they will lower their price to keep you.

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Not sure how this might be interpreted but stumbled upon a post by the top financial institutions,HSBC and RBI gathered a panel of industry experts for you to quiz about how to make sure your business survives the Credit Crunch.

creditcrunch1

Click to play

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