There are many ways to save money in the kitchen. For example, eliminating the purchase of junk food and other impulse buys can reduce spending significantly. Buying prepackaged food priced at a premium can be great for the convenience it offers. And cooks looking to save money can find that great savings are available by simply preparing most things from scratch.
If you often find yourself grabbing something quick on the run, once-a-month cooking plans may be the option for you. The idea behind once a month cooking is that large amounts of ingredients can be bought in bulk and cooked over a day or two (usually a weekend.) Then, individual portions can be frozen and eaten later in the week. This is a great way to save money because it prevents you from buying costly frozen meals or from eating out because you are too tired to cook. The time investment can be reduced by combining your once a month cooking with other people.
Some groups borrow church or restaurant kitchens, and then share a little of each cook's dish among the group. This strategy allows for variety in your frozen meals, so that you're not eating the same thing every night. If once a month is too daunting, once a week or twice a month plans may also work well.
Buying in bulk is a well known way to save money when purchasing food. However, without a good plan, bulk food can go unused and spoil. It is essential to plan in advance when purchasing groceries in large amounts. If you would like to buy bulk perishables, canning or cold storage can be employed to help preserve the food until it can be cooked. Other methods of storage include dehydrating the food, freezing it, and making jellies, jams, and pickles. Combined with advance meal planning, these methods can help you to save money while still eating a delicious, varied diet.
Other frugal options include making such items as bread crumbs and croûtons at home, allowing the use of stale bread, storing greens with a paper towel in the bag to keep them crisp, and using a bread machine to produce your own bread. Grilling large quantities of meat in advance and keeping them in the freezer allows you to have it ready to go for use in sandwiches or cooking. This removes the temptation to buy prepared chicken strips or to go out to a restaurant when you crave that real grilled taste.
The biggest secret to saving money in the kitchen is to think ahead. When you go to the store, have a good idea what you want to do with each ingredient you buy, and how much of it you will need. Keep a good eye on what items are on sale each time you go shopping, and think how to incorporate them into your menu, whether that menu is weekly or monthly. When you purchase items in bulk or on sale, make certain that you have a plan to use them quickly or store them effectively before they can spoil. While sale food is cheaper, the money is wasted when it goes bad. Simple planning and careful shopping can help you save at the grocery store, without sacrificing variety or taste.
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Hunter Pyle wrote this article to talk about ways to save money in the kitchen. Check out Kitchen and Much More for more ways to save money.