Trying to save some cash so you can buy a new couch? Start cutting costs in the kitchen! We all know we can save some dollars by skipping the $5 coffees, bringing our lunch to work or by eating in one more evening, but what else? Here are some simple money savers you can start with at home, in your own kitchen.
Put your fruits and vegetables where you see them.
The fruit and vegetable drawers that come standard in most refrigerators seem like a great idea, but rather than keeping your food fresh, they invite you to let your food go bad.Don’t keep the food that spoils fastest in a place where you don’t see it. Put the fruit and vegetables front and center. You’re more likely to eat the food when you see it and you’ll stop throwing spoiled fruit in the garbage.
(Healthful eating tip! Don’t store your apples and oranges in the refrigerator. Put them in a bowl on the counter where you see them and you’re more likely to make eating them a habit.)
Before you go to the grocery store, see what you have in your pantry. Do you need more pasta? More chicken stock? Use what you have before you have a pantry full of canned peas that you bought because you might be out. Then, keep a list of things you use often and are running low on. Stick to your list when you shop to save time and money.
Grow your own fresh herbs.
Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano – it’s fun to cook with recipes that call for these fresh herbs. But buying them fresh at the grocery store can cost you precious pennies and dollars! Save your money by starting your own fresh herb garden. A few garden pots, some dirt and some plants and you are on your way to fresh goodness at little cost.
Feeling ambitious in the spring and summer? Grow your own vegetables when summer comes around.
Enjoy Meatless Monday AND Thursday.
Cleanse your body and save some money by going meatless two or even three days a week. This is a no-brainer in the kitchen as a money saver, with the cost of meat rising regularly. Your body and your budget will thank you.
Watch your waist by eating less.
You’ll eat less, lose weight and save money by making smaller portions. Why not give it a try? Slow down, enjoy your meal and simply eat less food. You’ll have another meal ready for another day. And you’ll get to watch your waist slim down and your budget beef up.
Practice food fusion.
Don’t go to the grocery store because the leftovers in your refrigerator don’t match. Pull out a pan and start sauteeting what you have. See what fun dishes you can create with your leftovers. This can be fun and tasty, and a money and time saver to boot.
Package food for take out.
Make sure all of your plastic containers have matching lids and keep them stored so you can easily pull a container and its matching lid. The easier it is to store your food, the more likely you are to preserve your leftovers. Plan ahead and pack the pasta you are going to take for lunch the next day in a to-go container. Make a little salad, too, and bring some dressing on the side. In the morning, just grab and go. You can use the same idea for freezing food. If you make soup, spaghetti sauce or the like and plan to freeze it, put it in several smaller containers rather than one large one, so you can thaw only what you want, when you want it.
Don’t grocery shop for one week.
Or grocery shop but only buy perishables or things you run out of, such as milk and vegetables. Otherwise, commit to one week of using what you have in the house to prepare your meals and clear out the pantry. Your creativity may surprise you, you may have some fun, and you’ll definitely save money.
You’re going to love your kitchen once you see the money savings it holds in store for you. You have a home with a kitchen so get cooking!