I always tell people who are trying to cut back their budget that the first and easiest place to start is in the kitchen. Groceries are priced so outrageously that it's so easy to cut back just by changing a few things around in your life.
If you're a regular reader of mine, you know that I'm DEFINITELY a coupon-user! But there are lots of other ways that help save money in the kitchen too! Here are a few tips:
1. Turn off the water when you're not using it. I know this may sound obvious but I once had a 20-minute conversation with someone at their front door while their water ran in the kitchen sink THE WHOLE TIME.
2. Wash dishes by hand. Washing dishes by hand saves LOTS of water over putting your dishes in the dishwasher all the time. While this is a huge money-saver, this is one area that I admit I am not willing to compromise. I heart my dishwasher.
3. Reuse grocery bags for trash bags. Get a smaller trash can and put all those pesky plastic bags to good use! (I'd double bag them just in case there are holes.) In addition to getting rid of the bags, you're also forced to take out the trash much more often which leads to a cleaner smelling home! :)
4. Make your own cleaning products. No, I'm not recommending you turn your kitchen into a chemistry lab. But you might be amazed how much you spend on cleaning products each year! Try using bleach or vinegar instead. You can also make your own soap but, considering soap is rather inexpensive to begin with, I'm not sure how much of a money-saver that would be.
5. Make your own convenience foods. When most people hear the words "convenience foods" they think of things like soda, candy, and popsicles. But the range of convenience foods spans much farther than just junk food! Virtually everything you buy that comes in a package is, in some form, a convenience food. Here are a few foods that I have made:
- spaghetti sauce
- pudding pops
- ice cream
- chicken strips
- puppy chow (the people stuff!)
- funnel cakes
- french fries
6. Use coupons. (Come on, you knew it was coming!) Using coupons is THE number one way I save money in the kitchen. There are many ways to use coupons. Some people just clip a few. Some people clip them all. Click here for a post on how I coupon.
For more money-saving tips, check out my series on developing a system for your kitchen!