10 Tips to Save Money in the Kitchen and on Groceries

How can you lower your food bill and associated household costs?
How can you lower your food bill and associated household costs? | Source

Overview

The kitchen is the main room where we gather and eat several times a day. It is a natural congregation point for the family for snacks, family meetings and homework. The kitchen is also where we spend our grocery dollars, the largest budget categories for Americans after housing and taxes.

The kitchen frequently consumes our electricity and water while driving the household budget with disposable items and appliances. Here are ten tips to save money in the kitchen and another ten on saving money on groceries.

10 Tips for Saving on Groceries

  1. Switch to recipes that require fewer cooking implements. Make stew in a slow cooker or a roast with one pan instead of multi-course meals. You’ll often save meal preparation time, clean up time and water required to clean them.
  2. Do you drink soda? Buy cans instead of 2 liter containers. The act of drinking from a smaller container instead of repeatedly filling a glass may cause you to drink less. You may also realize the same savings by switching to smaller beer cans or wine bottles.
  3. Do you enjoy smoothies? Are you buying the frozen diced fruit packs and tossing in the mixer each morning? Buy fresh fruit and freeze it. This is cheaper per pound while the whole fruit can be thawed and used in other recipes if desired. You may also save money by using condensed milk instead of yogurt and peanut butter powder instead of protein shake mix.
  4. It is common sense to make a list before going to the grocery store. An often neglected step is checking to see what is in the fridge or pantry before you grocery shopping. You may find that you have what your partner has put on the list. Or you may find other items that need to be purchased, avoiding additional shopping trips later.
  5. Buy generic canned goods for most items on your list. For example, canned corn, canned green beans, canned mushrooms and tomato sauce generally taste the same whether they are in generic labels or brand name labels. And if you are on a tight budget, buy the generic canned goods and add flavor using bottled sauces or spices from your spice rack.
  6. At least once a month, go through your spice cabinet. Plan a meal that uses the leftover spices and use them up. If in doubt, make meatloaf and toss it all in.
  7. Find a delicious frozen version of the item your order out most. Buy a few and throw them in the freezer. The $7 frozen pizza seems pricey at the grocery store, but it may save you $15 on delivered pizza. Chicken wings, potato skins and other take out favorites sitting in the freezer may save you a fortune on delivered foods or eating out.
  8. Keep an eye on the company. Don’t let your kids’ friends assume that they can inhale the food from your refrigerator. Watch how much food your friends eat when they visit. If the visitors are consuming your food frequently, ask them to either reciprocate the favor or compensate you in other ways.
  9. Buy single serve packets of your beloved comfort foods. Then you can eat ice cream when you’re depressed, but it will be the $2 mini-pack instead of the full gallon container.
  10. Research where the discount bakeries are located in your area. You can buy snack cakes, bread, bagels and cookies there for a fraction of the price at the grocery store. However, the selection is not limited to baked goods. Many discount bakeries also offer peanut butter, jelly, baking mixes, soup mixes and even condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup.

Slow cookers can save you both time and money over microwave entrees.
Slow cookers can save you both time and money over microwave entrees. | Source

10 Tips for Saving on Consumables in the Kitchen

1. Train your children to throw napkins, wash clothes and cleaning rags into the laundry basket when done so that they are washed along with clothing. If the reusable items are frequently washed, you are more likely to use them instead of throw away paper towels and cleaning wipes.

2. Use cheap, generic brand paper plates to eat on when it is very hot and your electric rate is highest. You’ll delay the need to do dishes.

3. If you buy cleaning wipes, buy the generic ones instead of the brand name cleaning wipes.

4. Use bathroom cleaners to scrub the kitchen sink.

5. Learn how much detergent is actually needed in the dishwasher. You may be filling the detergent holder to the brim when it only needs to be filled to the line. And don't use rinse agent unless you actually need it, since many people use it to offset the residue left by using too much dish detergent.

6. If your oven has a self-cleaning cycle, run the self-cleaning cycle and then clean the oven with a sponge instead of buying expensive oven cleaner.

7. Rise single serve soda bottles and then fill them with water. Store them in the fridge. You’ll have cool water ready on demand and avoid using disposable paper cups or extra dishes for a quick drink.

8. Check the vent hood or fan above your oven. Do you need to change the filter? Changing that one filter could reduce the odors in your kitchen dramatically, eliminating the need for fancy scent dispensers or cleaning chemicals with additional scents.

9. If you order temperature sensitive items in the mail, the order may have come with a gel pack to keep it cool. Read the label; it may be reusable. A free reusable gel pack may keep lunches or ice coolers cold.

10. Look for Tuperware containers that have been repurposed for storage and organizing around the house to reclaim for the kitchen before you go out and order more.

Additional Money Saving Tips

What are you paying people to do around your home? Can you save money on a housekeeper by paying your kids commissions for doing housework? If money is getting tight, pay your teenager to trim the lawn and sweep the front walkway. Or require any family members living with you for reduced or no rent to join in the housework instead of paying someone else to do it.

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Comments 8 comments

krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

You are so savvy about saving money! Wow, I'm guilty of two liter bottles, not having a grocery list, big ice cream containers....ugh Luckily we do use the off-brand and I'm a big believer in re-using plastic containers until they are falling apart. So, there is hope! :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 4 years ago from Southern Arizona

I love the idea of using one cleaner for multiple jobs. All of the specialized cleaning products do nothing but drain the bank account! You offered up a number of money-saving tips I had not thought about. Thanks!


tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas Author

I've also switched to dollar store from the name brands. I've told the kids that if they care about brand, there's less I'm going to buy.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I've done most of these things and am consequently able to save a LOT of money in the food department. Thanks for sharing the great advice!


Dr Pooja profile image

Dr Pooja 4 years ago

I had a really bad habit of buying attractive stuff on the market shelf and all that started showing o n my bills and waistline .The new mantra is buy less and buy and consume fresh to trim bills and waist.Enjoyed your hub!!!


tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas Author

Before I taught my kids to put the dirty wash clothes and cleaning cloths in the nearest laundry basket, I ended up with dirty piles of cleaning wipes and had to use disposable wipes. Now I can wash the cleaning cloths when I do their laundry and use fewer disposables.


Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

oh these are some great tips! I didn't even think about the filter in the vent hood!! We drink smoothies everyday and those packets are expensive. I'll have to try using frozen fresh fruit!! Awesome job on this, voted up, awesome and shared!


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Great tips! I think it's a great idea to teach kids when they're young so that they learn not to be so wasteful with things like paper towels. I hardly use paper towels--only for the nasty jobs. I use cloth rags for cleaning messes and cloth napkins for dining. I've even tried newspapers for windows; they work pretty well. Thanks for the hub. Very helpful. Sharing!

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