More Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen
This is a pretty handy subject in this economy, I believe. So here are a few of my tips for saving money in the kitchen. There is likely even more advice out there and did I mention I LOVE comments? I read them all.
1. Know your food prices so you can take advantage of sales. You can keep a price book for this until you learn the prices. I have them in my head, although I have to adjust my brain for the recent rise in food costs.
2. Do not regularly rely on prepackaged & processed foods. They are ridiculously expensive and not usually good for you. There are always exceptions. I do buy cheap brownie mix to have on hand. It is just too convenient and I am always ready to bring a dessert somewhere if I doctor them up a little.
3. Make whatever you can from scratch. You save money and have control of nutrition, too. You can make your own pancake mix, muffin mix, etc. It is still from scratch, you just have it on hand and convenient. There are recipes for brownie mix out there, too. I need to make my own, huh?
4. Do not buy appliances that only do one thing. Nix the Panini Grill for a grill you can use for meats, paninis, pancakes and more!
5. Use your sale flyers in conjunction with coupons (or not, but use the sale flyers!) I recently got FREE Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes using a sale and manufacturer’s coupons combined. I get my coupons out of the major Sunday papers in my area. Whatever I can’t use, I trade away or send off to military wives overseas. They can use coupons for 6 months following the expiration date.
6. Use your oven while it’s already on. Bulk bake! I often put more than one item in my oven at a time. It increases baking time a little and you may have to trade out racks, but it still saves time and energy.
7. Run your dishwasher when it is full. Okay, so this is never a problem at our house. I often run it two to three times a day. LOL
8. Don’t make meat the main event every night. Stir fry or meat in sauce over pasta, anytime the meat is cut up in chunks, you use less of it. Instead of having a serving of meat separate from your side dishes, put it into a casserole, stir fry with lots of veggies or sauce with rice or pasta and you will use less, sometimes half of what you normally use. Americans tend to eat beyond the recommendations for serving size, anyway. A serving of chicken is the size of a deck of cards. Scale back for budget and health. Too much extra protein gets stored as fat, right?
9. Buy herbs and spices in bulk. Only have what you use. This is convenient when you just need a little of something for a recipe and you know you may not use it again. Go to the bulk bins and just buy a little. Jarred spices are REALLY expensive.
10. Raise or grow whatever you can yourself. Our family is working on this one. We raised a large garden this year, and it will likely be as larger or larger next year. In addition, taking advantage of free produce from friends and learning to put it up by canning or freezing will save you a lot of money and give your family the freshest produce available. If you can have chickens where you live, I highly recommend having a few. Figure out how many you need for your family and get the free chicks they advertise in late winter through the Grange Co-op. Raise those little fluff balls and within six months or so, you have fresh eggs for your family, organic if you feed them right.
11. And finally, cut out using paper products as much as possible.
One project my daughter and I have been working on is cloth napkins. We tended to use paper towel at the meal table which is very expensive. I almost never buy paper napkins, which would be cheaper. Now we will use cloth napkins. This is a great way to teach your child how to sew straight on a sewing machine!
I’m sorry if I rushed you through this series. Like I said, I hoped that it would help out a friend and decided not to wait until every Friday to post. This was a really fun talk to do and I am so glad I was able to share it with you, too. Thanks for reading!