We all know all the standard ways to be frugal in our kitchens. We are reminded some where, some how almost daily!
Grown your own and can and preserve - it's economical and healthy
Eat what is in season - it's economical and healthy
Eat smaller servings - it's economical and healthy
Eat less meat and less carbs - it's economical and healthy
Cook from scratch - it's economical and healthy
Hmmmmmm - I am sensing a theme going on there!
These aren't the only rules to follow. There are many ways to save money and have a frugal kitchen.
BUT ALSO REMEMBER - NO rules are meant for everyone! Every family is different - and we all have to come up with our own plans. We are NOT competing with one another - we are trying to do the best we can with what we have for our own particular family unit.
So pick and choose what works for you.
MEAL PLANNING - lot's of people plan their meals ahead a week or two at a time. This has never worked for me. I fix what I am in the mood for! I cook with what I have.
You can plan meals from your pantry and/or freezer. You can plan according to what sales are. There are no steadfast rules.
PANTRY/FREEZER ORGANIZATION - I do believe this is very important. If you can't see or find what you have - you can't feasibly figure out what to cook. If you intend on using your pantry/freezer for meals - keep them organized!! It DOES save money in the long run.
COUPONS - SALES - If you use coupons (yes, you can save money) - make sure you combine them with sale prices to save even more.
BUY WHAT YOU WILL EAT - don't buy things just because it is a good deal. IT'S NOT if your family won't eat them.
EAT WHAT YOU BUY - Make sure you use the foods you preserve and the ones you bring into the house regularly. Don't be wasteful
ROTATE STOCK - make sure you have your oldest inventory to the front. Use that first then go on the more recent purchases. Also REMEMBER - "Use by dates" are just that - dates. Generally they are informing you that the product is of the best quality if used by a certain date. It doesn't mean the product magically goes bad on that day!!!!!
EAT TO LIVE - don't live to eat. Overeating is not only unhealthy - it's expensive. Eat well balance meals. and stop when you are satisfied - not when you feel like exploding!
KEEP OFTEN USED ITEMS close at hand. Whether it be everyday cooking utensils, appliances, or coffee or seasonings, etc. - if you use it daily - keep it close to your prep area. it makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. Thus you will cook from home more often (frugal)
LEFTOVERS - I hear so many people say they don't eat leftovers. My response is generally "Holy Cr*p" - we wouldn't eat a lot if it weren't for leftovers. Re-invent them into new dishes!
EX: I fixed black eyed peas for NY Day (dried peas). I made a pound. Next day I made my own version of Hoppin' John (added sausage, peppers, onions and tomatoes - served over rice). then we used some of that as a layer in homemade tacos (2X) and the rest was frozen (it will get tossed in the next batch of soup). It doesn't have to get boring if you use your imagination and change it up!
I do NOT understand the logic of not eating leftovers - if you don't, I think you are missing out and over spending!
CHECK UNIT PRICES - bigger is not always better (cheaper). Most all grocers show unit prices on the price signs now. Sometimes buying 5 of a smaller unit (if on sale) is cheaper than buying 1 bigger package. I notice this regularly with milk and toilet paper at the store.
Milk can be .99/half on sale, but the gallon is say 2.69. WHY would you buy the gallon?
TP can be on sale a 4/roll pack for $1 - same brand is 5.99/12 pack. REALLY?
I have tried time and time again to point this out to other shoppers at the store - and they look at me as if I have a giant green horn coming out my head - and then they buy the most expensive! WOW
VARIETY - read and use cook books. Try new items so you and your family don't get bored. Get on the computer and look up recipes. There are tons of recipe sites. Check out books at the library. Experiment.
Don't forget about the site - that you plug in your ingredients on hand and then receive recipes.
Being frugal gets to become a mindset after you have done it awhile. If you are just starting out - take baby steps, and try lots of new things till you see what works for you. If you have a fail - DON"T give up!!!! Keep trying other things. You will eventually get into the fact that you REALLY ARE SAVING MONEY! It then becomes a way of life and it's FUN too! A side perk is that it can improve your health too!
What are some of the ways you save money in the kitchen? Do you have any tried and true methods or tricks? Let's all help each other. Life is our school room! Let's share and learn.
Have a great day all!