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How to Save Money by Using a Crock Pot - 3 Steps Save You Time and Money

Updated on January 22, 2009

I’m convinced you can save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars a year by starting one new habit: use your crock pot! Not only can you save money on the grocery bill by buying cheaper cuts of meat (which cook up tender and delicious in the crock pot) but you’ll also save all that money you would have blown at the drive through. A little planning goes a long way with crock pot cooking. Once you get the hang of it you’ll start using the crock pot every chance you get.

Step 1: Collect Crock Pot Recipes

We’ve come a long way since the crock pot recipes of the seventies. No longer are crock pots used only for thick stews and unidentified cuts of meat slathered in cream-of-something soup. Today’s crock pot recipes can be healthy or calorie-filled comfort foods. It’s your choice. Some of my favorite recipes to make in a crock pot are soups. Click here for some wonderful taco soup recipes you can make in a crock pot.

I also love this pork chop recipe for the crock pot. It turns really cheap chops (bought on clearance, of course!) into a down home family meal that takes only 15 minutes to prepare and greets you with warmth at the end of a long day!

Something else I like to simmer all day in the crock pot is spaghetti sauce. Make your favorite recipe, and once you have it assembled, toss it into the pot for several hours. So good! And then of course there’s your basic pot roast.

Step 2: Plan Your Menu

I’m not going to lie to you, using the crock pot requires a little planning. But it pays off big time! In order to be organized enough to get a recipe going in the crock pot in the morning to eat that night, it’s almost imperative that you have a menu planned for the week. Menu planning and shopping with a list make things a whole lot easier anyway. Try planning your menus with one or two days a week that you cook with the crock pot. I’m telling you it’s almost as good as having someone deliver dinner to your door! (Of course it’s also much less expensive and most likely healthier.)

Step 3: Shop Wisely, From Your Own Freezer

Some people who are much more sophisticated at menu planning and coupon clipping than I am advocate that you should aim to plan your weekly menu around what’s on sale that particular week. I think these people have way too much time on their hands. And maybe they don’t have a freezer, I don’t know. What I do is a lot easier. I buy discounted meat whenever I can and toss it straight into the freezer. You can sometimes get 50% off meat!

Although you might have to take the hit one week, it saves you money over time if you can take advantage of sales. Start to put back a little money each week that you can use to buy meat at sale prices. What happens over time is that you build up a little inventory so that you always have chicken, beef, pork or whatever on hand. Then when you make your menu plan for the week, you use the meat you purchased on sale previously.

I hope you’ll dust off your crock pot and give these steps a try. My current model is about five years old and literally falling apart because I use it so much! Happy crocking!

Comments

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  • Charlotte Anne profile image

    Charlotte Anne 9 years ago from Iowa, USA

    Wise advise. This is coming from somebody who goes through the drive through all too often.

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    Thanks, Miss Taken. I think I might get the 'fancy' model next time too. I just made a great pot roast tonight! And you know how they always say not much liquid in a crock pot? My recipe calls for 4 cups of water and it turns out just great! (It's the Homemade Gourmet spice recipe but I think you could also just use onion soup mix.) So wonderful on a cold, ice stormy, day!

  • Miss-Taken profile image

    Miss-Taken 9 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

    Excellent hub! I've used my crock pot avidly for years, in fact, I'm on my second one as I wore my first one out! I've created some pretty good meals just tossing in things I thought might work together. I've become what I like to call 'crock pot creative'!

    My current crock pot model is actually digital and I can program it for anywhere from 4 hours to 12 hours, then it automatically shuts off and sits at 'warm' until I'm ready to serve and eat! It's awesome!

    My mother recently got one and we've both enjoyed our time together as I shared with her my recipes and gave her all my tips and tricks. (Well ok, not ALL of them!! A girl's gotta have SOME secrets of her own! *L*)

    Thanks for a great hub and some great recipes.

  • Lela Davidson profile image
    Author

    Lela Davidson 9 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

    I live for my crock pot. And yes, we ALL could use one more often.

  • RGraf profile image

    Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

    I love my crockpot and should use it more. Thanks for the information. Hope others read it and learn how useful it can be.

  • MasonsMom profile image

    MasonsMom 9 years ago from U.S.A.

    I really need to use my crockpot more often! Thanks for reminding me!

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