coookingHow to Save Money on Cooking


Whether you have a new budget or you are looking for ways to save more money, the kitchen is a great place to start. Based on the way that supermarkets are set up, and advertisements, we are often driven to buy more expensive food over cheaper alternatives. If you are committed to cooking more efficiently, then you probably already know that eating at home, rather than at a restaurant saves money. You can save more money without making sacrifices on quality or taste by making these changes. Read more to find out how to save money on cooking.

Method 1 of 2: Cooking Wisely

1. Review what you already have on hand in your kitchen. One of the keys to cooking frugally is using what you already have, instead of just buying more. Make it a goal to use up almost all of your pantry or refrigerator before you go shopping, and you will find yourself wasting less food that goes off after its expiration date.
This may mean you need to be more creative with your cooking. However, you will find that many websites, like Epicurious, Real Simple or Cooking Light allow you to search by ingredient. You can even find phone or tablet applications that let you select an ingredient and give you recipe options.

2. Reduce the amount of meat that you eat, or buy cheaper cuts. For many families, meat is the easiest way to get protein to their family. Choose pork shoulder, cube steaks, chicken thighs, or whole chickens or turkeys, which are more likely to be cheaper.

3. Drink water at meals instead of buying pop, juice, energy drinks, smoothies and more. Water is free from the tap, and excluding other drinks from your shopping list is 1 of the best ways to save on your cooking bills.

4. Invest in a slow cooker, also known as a crock pot. Slow cooking is the best way to make a meal out of cheaper cuts of meat. Many slow cookers come with recipe books, or you can look online, for the best way to cook anything from steak, to whole chickens, to chili, just by dropping some simple ingredients in the pot and letting them slowly cook for 4 to 8 hours.

5. Reduce food waste. The following are ways to reduce waste while you shop and cook:
Buy smaller fruit. While fruit is essential for fiber and nutrients, most people buy apples, pears, bananas, and other fruit that are too large for what your child or you want to eat. Instead of throwing the excess away, you can save money when you buy smaller fruit by weight.
Have a leftover night. Cooking for a family often means leftovers. Plan out a menu, like you are at a restaurant, and everyone can have all or part of their favorite meal from the week.
Pay attention to what your family throws away after meals or snacks. Adjust their portions accordingly, so you are giving them what they usually eat. They can always ask for a second helping if they are hungry.
Freeze leftovers if they will make a whole meal, but you don’t have time to eat them within the next few days. This is a great plan for soup, chili, cooked potatoes, casseroles and more. You will appreciate that extra meal when you find yourself without time to cook.

6. Adjust how you cook according to the season. Many websites and magazines post recipes for what is in season. The following ways can help you save money on your meals:
Buy what is in season. After a run through the produce section, it should be obvious what is in season and what isn’t. A pineapple can cost $1.99 and be a dessert, where a small packet of blueberries is $6. Shop at a local farmer’s market, and you will save money by paying attention to what is in over-abundance at the time.
Serve fruit as a dessert. You can make parfaits with yogurt. You can serve strawberries with cream, or you can just sprinkle a small amount of sugar on top to entice a family that is used to baked goods. This is healthier and cheaper.
Add leafy greens and cans of beans to your stock. Dark green lettuce and beans are cheap and they add a great amount of nutrition to your diet. Learn to make creative salads and add beans to casseroles and stews.

Method 2 of 2: Shopping Wisely

1. Become a coupon clipper. Luckily, coupons are available online, in newspapers and at the checkout line. Buy an envelope to organize coupons and leave it in the car. Plan your purchases according to what’s on sale that week and you will shave money off your weekly grocery bill.
Throw away coupons for things that you would not normally buy. Just because an offer is attractive, it doesn’t mean it is a good cooking choice. Stick to the things you know you need, not offers for new products.

2. Buy the items you use constantly in bulk. Also, buy with coupons from the store, if possible. Stores like Costco send out coupon booklets, so buy your toilet paper, toothpaste, lotion, roasts, yogurt or frozen foods according to the coupons sales.
Remember that you should not buy everything in bulk. Just like grocery stores, bulk stores have attractive offers on DVDs, large jars of olives, frozen appetizers, cakes, chips and other things that are unnecessary or unhealthy. Limit your bulk purchases, and shop alone, if you find your spouse or kids are big impulse buyers.
Bulk store memberships often require you to pay a yearly fee. If you plan to buy your toiletries, shop regularly or get gas from the store, this is very likely to pay off within a few months’ time.
3. Shop at a few different stores. For instance, you may save money on toilet paper by shopping at a bulk store, but your coupon at the local supermarket saves you money on bread. Figure out a monthly shopping plan that includes discount stores, supermarkets and bulk stores.
Make sure you sign up for the local supermarket’s “club.” Most supermarkets have a card that you are required to swipe in order to get a discount. Although almost everyone uses them, you save a considerable amount of money by following the practice.

4. Reduce your processed foods, such as cookies, candy, lunch meat, cheese, and other packaged meals. Many stores package cut foods and mark up the price. Buy the large head of broccoli or the pineapple and cut it yourself.
Many nutrition experts suggest that you stay near the outside of a supermarket. Most of the processed, high-calorie food is contained within the aisles. Try shopping the perimeter first, before you delve into the aisles for a few items.