If you’ve evaluated your budget and noticed that you need to save money in the kitchen, this article is for you. Cooking – or lack thereof – is an area that can cost more than it needs to if you’re not careful. Not only will these 14 tips help you save money in the kitchen, but some of them will help you save time as well!
1. Cook Whole Roasted Chicken
Any wholesale club or grocery store should sell whole roasted chicken at a price from $4 to $7. This typically comes out to less than $1 per pound – which is a steal! Whole roasted chicken can be made into an endless variety of meals. When you’ve finished using the meat of the chicken, use the bones and scraps to make chicken stock which can be used in even more meals!
2. Have Vegetarian Nights
Vegetables are not only good for your health, but insanely inexpensive compared to meat. Try to have vegetarian nights like “Meatless Monday” or “Tofu Tuesday” to mix up your diet and save some money on meat. Some easy vegetarian meals include: bean chili, cheese quesadillas, and veggie burgers.
3. Opt For Dried Beans Instead Of Canned
Dried beans cost less than canned beans. For the same cost, you’ll get about twice as much dried beans in a bag than you’d get canned beans. This is because dried beans haven’t been processed. You’ll have to boil them yourself before eating. If you’re trying to be frugal, it’s worth putting them on the stove or in the crockpot – especially if you eat beans often.
4. Eat The Same Thing For Breakfast Every Day
When you eat the same thing every day, you take one less variation out of your budget. For example, I eat overnight oatmeal for breakfast every morning. It consists of rolled oats, milk, cinnamon, honey, and almonds in a pint-sized mason jar. It costs me less than $2 per serving. Not only does it save you money – it saves preparation time as well!
5. Learn To Freezer Cook
Batch-cooking your meals is another way to save money and time in the kitchen. How many times have you made a meal only to have leftovers you don’t want right away? Cooking large portions of meals and freezing the rest will reduce waste and keep your freezer stocked with ready-made meals.
6. Buy Produce In Season
Produce costs more when it’s not in season. Corn, for example, will be cheapest in the summer months. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper in the winter months. Here’s an excellent vegetable seasonality chart for you to plan your monthly shopping around.
7. Meal Plan Each Week
Along the lines of eating the same meal each day, planning your meals for the week will leave less room for you to break your budget. When you know exactly what meals you’ll be eating for the week, you can come up with a specific ingredient list and shop accordingly. This helps you avoid any unnecessary purchases.
8. Shop Based On Sales And Coupons
Get a flyer from your local grocery store or wholesale club and make note of any really good sales. Next, collect any coupons from the flyer and online. See if there is any overlap between the sales and your coupons. These are items you definitely want to work into your weekly meal plan.
9. Buy Spices In Bulk
When you buy spices in small quantities, you are paying more for the packaging. To save you some money, consider buying the spices you use most often in bulk. When you buy in large quantities, you’ll only pay for packaging once rather than for each little container.
10. Mix Your Own Spice Blends
You can take it a step further and even mix your own spice blends. You’ll find that if you buy all the individual spices for a steak dry rub, for example, you’ll end up with more to use. This way, you can use the leftover spices for other meals.
11. Don’t Pay Extra For Packaging
Store brands can offer the same product at the same level of quality as name brands. Sometimes you’re just paying extra for the logo and packaging. Don’t overlook cheaper store brand products just because they aren’t in fancy packaging.
12. Avoid Impulse Buys
Make sure you go to the grocery store on a full stomach so that you avoid impulse purchases. Shopping on an empty stomach can cause you to put that extra chocolate bar or bag of chips in your cart to satisfy a temporary craving.
13. Learn To Butcher Meat
Larger cuts of meat tend to cost less per pound than smaller cuts. If you’re new to butchering meat, the easiest way to start is to buy chicken leg quarters and separate them into drumsticks and thighs.
14. Grow Your Own Vegetables
Think of a vegetable garden as money growing on trees. You buy the seeds once and then get a bountiful amount of produce to eat for the year. If you don’t have a backyard to create this garden, you can even grow smaller vegetables and herbs in your home. You can grow things like grape tomatoes, speciality peppers, and basil.
These 14 tips to save money in the kitchen may be new to you but are worth giving a try. Specifically, eating the same thing for breakfast every day, meal planning each week, and not paying extra for packaging are three tips that really help me save money in the kitchen every month. Whether you try all or some of these tips, you’re bound to notice some savings in this category of your budget.
How do you save money in the kitchen?