If you’ve tracked your spending for any length of time, you will quickly notice a very large portion of your money goes towards food. Therefore, saving money in the kitchen is vital if you want to get the most out of your hard earned dollars. Good news… special tips and tricks are plentiful!
I’ve compiled a list of these little specialties. From food preparation to storage and freezing to plain ol’ money saving tactics. Thanks to the many awesome sites and helpful bloggers who bless us with their smarts and help us to spend our money more wisely!
Preparing Food Tips
- From the Coupon Princess — When chopping up onions and other veggies, save in a ziplock baggie and place in freezer for future use in soups or other recipes. Boiling chicken don’t throw away the liquid, use the broth when preparing rice, soups, or other dishes you would like chicken broth in.
- A lot of people think that you can’t freeze food that was made from meat that has been previously frozen. According to the “Love Food, Hate Waste” campaign, this is simply not true. You CAN freeze a meal that was made from meat that has been frozen before. Just make sure you reheat it thoroughly when you next want to eat it. – Jon Rhodes
- Tip from Julie at Wisebread — Substitute exotic ingredients for regular ones, especially those that call for unusual (and expensive!) ingredients that use just a portion of a can, bag, etc. as that item may never be used again.
- If You Can Read, You Can Cook suggests — When you buy bacon, cook the entire package and then freeze the cooked slices. It can be quickly re-heated in the microwave from frozen when you need it, eliminating having to remember to get it out of the freezer the night before or having it go bad in the refrigerator.
- Kari, from Small Budget Big Dreams — I found this frugal idea a few years ago in a magazine and have been using it ever since… I keep a bowl with a cover in my freezer at all times. Whenever I have leftover cooked veggies from dinner that I would normally throw away, I toss them in the bowl. When the bowl is full I dump them in a big stock pot and add some vegetable stock (and chicken if I have any on hand). It makes a delicious soup and each time the flavor is a little different. Plus it keeps me from cluttering my fridge with little bowls of leftover veggies that I usually forget to eat and end up throwing away.
- Glen at Parenting Family Money offers — Make a meal plan and use that plan for your shopping list when you go food shopping. When we plan out our meals I find that we are more likely to use what we buy. When we shop without a clear menu plan we tend to buy groceries on impulse leading to waste.
- From Must Love Coupons — When planning your meals for the week, combine recipes that contain like ingredients. Your shopping list is stretched farther and you can use items all week over many dishes while creating less waste or “leftover ingredients”.
- From My Broken Coin — Make a “Do Not Need List”. I discovered that we had two unopened honey jars, quite a few cans of black beans, more brown rice than we could possibly eat in a month, and a spare box of Wheat Thins that I was going to take to work as my snack and never did because I forgot we had it! Plenty to put on (by now my favorite) Do Not Need list. So, go over your pantry supplies and prepare a Do Not Need list of stuff that you already have and forgot about. It will help you to avoid buying the same stuff, and save you some money.
- Jim from Bargaineering — We keep a leftover calendar that lists what we made (or purchased) and then cross things off as we eat them. It helps us remember when we made it (to know more easily if it might go bad) and helps us remember to eat it, especially sides that get pushed into the back. One thing I want to do is get a log for our pantry.
*Here’s a post on reducing food spoilage with a leftover calender.
Direct Money Saving Tricks
- From Zack at Look Before Spending — Keep your fridge cold! Some people want to save a few bucks a month on their energy bill by turning the temp up on their fridge. While this can save a few bucks, food will spoil quicker in warmer temperatures. We keep our fridge on the lowest setting possible without freezing and our food keeps well past the store’s expiration dates.
- Jeffrey at Savings Advice suggests a good set of knives! Nothing makes you NOT want to cook more than having knives that don’t cut. A good set makes cooking much more fun (and easy). And, grow an herb garden. Even without a lot of space, it’s easy to grow a small herb garden on the kitchen windowsill and not have to buy them at the grocery store.
Here are 20 More Ways to Save Time and Money in the Kitchen from Ryan at CashMoneyLife. Like cooking larger meals and eating leftovers, making homemade cleaners and preparing meals in advance. Plus find out how to make homemade baby food and how to make chicken stock.
Kristie at Saving Dollars & Sense will teach you batch cooking (with recipes) and crockpot cooking to save even more time and money in the kitchen. Robb at Boomer and Echo adds… the one thing that we found is that if it takes 15 minutes to prepare 1 meal, it will only take a few more minutes to prepare 3-4 meals of the same recipe. That’s the power of preparing food in bulk. By having already prepared meals in your freezer, getting dinner ready is as simple as throwing something in the slow-cooker in the morning before work, or popping it in the oven or microwave when you get home.
Two more hot tips from Jeremy at Generation X Finance…
Don’t forget to kiss the cook! — MainstreamMom.