10 Frugal Kitchen Tips to Stretch Your Dollar
There are so many ways to save money every day, but one of the easiest places is the kitchen. When I am looking to stretch my budget, the kitchen is the first place I look to cut. There are just so many ways to save money in the food department. I thought I would put together a hub on tips for saving money in the kitchen. I hope you like it!
- Don't let food go bad. The most expensive food is the food you throw out. Either make just enough so that there are no leftovers, have a plan for your leftovers, or throw them in the freezer in individual portions making lunches super easy.
- Produce is an area where food can go bad quickly. Store it properly to help this. When purchasing fresh produce for the week, get a mixture of items that will need eaten right away (berries) and items that will last all week easily (carrots).
- Make your own condiments. It is cheaper and better for you to make your own chocolate syrup, maple syrup and many salad dressings. Once you buy the main ingredients in large quantities, it becomes cheaper to make these items yourself. And you will never have to run to the store when you are out.
- Do the math on your meals. Side dishes, drinks and desserts included. Once you figure out how much it costs to make the foods you like, you can figure out ways to cut those costs. You can also make choices based on the cost. Say you want to have a more expensive main dish like chicken cordon bleu, but don't want to ruin your whole budget for the week. Not only can you choose less expensive side dishes to accompany this meal, you can balance this expensive dinner with cheaper dinners the rest of the week.
- Eat produce that is in season. It is less expensive and it doesn't have to travel as far to get to you, which means it is better for the environment.
- Have a night or two each week that you don't eat meat. At the very least the meat should not be the main focus of the meal.
- Shop your pantry first before heading to the store. Figure out what you need to go with what you already have. Don't start from scratch each week.
- Stock up on much used items when they are on sale, then you won't have to pay full price next week, or the week after, etc. depending on how much you stockpile.
- Cook as much as possible from scratch. If you have the right basic ingredients at home, you can make just about anything.
- Stretch foods as much as possible. See the examples below.
- If you buy a jar of pickles, once you have used the pickles, cut up a cucumber and add it to the juice left in the jar. Store in the fridge for a few days and you have a new jar of pickles for the cost of the cucumber.
- When my dad was in town recently I bought an expensive jar of seasoned oil to go with our bread. When we used the last of the oil we noticed the bottom of the jar was still full of the seasonings. I filled it with olive oil, shook it up and we have another bottle of seasoned oil, minus the high cost.
- Last time I made tacos, I quickly cooked up a pot of instant rice while the beef was browning. When that was all done, I mixed it together and added the taco seasoning. Everyone loved it and a cup of instant rice is much cheaper than more ground beef.
- Try to use less of something each time you use it until you notice a difference in flavor. Maybe the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, but really 3/4 teaspoon works just fine.