Last January I joined a great group of bloggers to bring you 5 Simple Ways. We each offered 5 simple tips to start the New Year covering various subjects like money, decorating, fashion, organizing, healthy living, kitchen life, and more. (Don’t forget to pick up the free ebook we put together from last year’s 5 Simple Ways series.)
Today we are back with more great tips to start the new year right and I am sharing 5 simple ways to save money in the kitchen.
These tips are things I have mentioned often on my site because they are things that I try in incorporate into my everyday kitchen life. They are basic tips that do not take very much time or work.
Menu plan, menu plan, menu plan
Yes I think menu planning is important, because it saves me so much time and money in the kitchen. If I plan my menu with what is on sale and what I have in my pantry, I avoid spending extra money on the dinner time panic of what do I feed my family for dinner. I am a big believer though in making your menu plan work for you.
What works for my family will not work for yours. So, if planning only five dinners a week works for you, plan only five meals and give yourself some freedom on the rest. If you like to do a ground beef Monday, Mexican Tuesday, and a Soup Wednesday type meal plan, than do that. Do what works for you. The important part is to have a plan.
Make it from scratch
I love making what I can at home. Yes, I can find inexpensive prepackaged food with sales and coupons, but the reality is that most things are cheaper to make at home. Things like homemade seasoning mixes and taco mixes are so easy to make at home and are much less expensive.
Eat out less
This one is not directly saving money in your kitchen, but it is saving money on food. I have found that I can often make a similar, if not better, version at home for much less. I can make my whole family a homemade version of Panera’s broccoli soup, tomato soup, or even potato soup for the price of one bowl at Panera. I can make burrito bowls very similar to Chipotles at home for much less than I can feed my family eating out. And the list goes on and on. Pizza is much cheaper to make at home. No it is not quite the same, but it is still very good and much healthier.
Keep a well stocked kitchen
Spur on the moment or last minute purchases can quickly ruin a budget. Running to the store for that item you ran out of often costs more than that one item, because you find at least five other items that you also “need”. Keeping a well stocked kitchen allows you to shop from your kitchen when you need to make a meal or recipe. It saves you from always running out and buying that one item. Now, I am not saying that you should run out and buy a ton of stuff right now to stock your kitchen. You can easily stock a kitchen with the basic canned goods, spices, pastas, etc over a few weeks or a month, by watching sales and spreading it out.
Keep a well organized kitchen
Okay, so here is where I admit I struggle. When people come over to my house, I often hope they don’t notice how unorganized my pantry is. It is an area I am far from perfect on, but I do know that when I keep a well organized pantry and kitchen, I spend less on groceries simply because I do not buy things I already have. I cleaned out my kitchen cupboard recently to discover I had at least 3 containers of cinnamon. And when I cleaned out my fridge, we had 3 or more opened jars of strawberry jelly. If things had been more organized and I had known what I already had, I would not have bought more of something that we did not need.
I would love to hear your tips on saving money in the kitchen. What do you think are the easiest ways to save money in the kitchen?
And don’t forget to check out the other great bloggers joining me for this 5 Simple Ways series.
- Springs Bargains-5 Simple Ways To Save More By Wasting Less
- Heavenly Homemakers- 5 Simple Ways To Accomplish More Each Day
- A Familiar Path- 5 Simple Ways To Make The Most Of Your Pictures
- Smockity Frocks- 5 Simple Ways To Occupy Preschoolers
- My Blessed Life- 5 Simple Ways To Update Your Home Decor
- The Happy Housewife- 5 Simple Ways To Save Money In 2012
- I’m In Organizing Junkie- 5 Simple Ways To Organize Without Spending Big Bucks
- Balancing Beauty and Bedlam- 5 Simple Ways To Freshen Up Your Wardrobe for 2012
- Southern Saver- 5 Simple Ways To Not Get Overwhelmed in Couponing