Want to eat better, save money, and meet your budget? Learn these 5 ways to save money cooking at home.
You know that cooking at home is probably the better way. Not only do you have a better chance of eating more healthfully, but you’ve heard that it’s cheaper, up to ten times cheaper than eating at a restaurant!
However, it’s not as simple as going to the grocery store and loading things into your cart. I outta know. In my newlywed years (circa 1994) I spent as much to feed two of us as I did to feed six of us, ten years later! I bought what I wanted when I wanted it, and ended up paying a heavy price.
The very act of grocery shopping and cooking isn’t what saves you money. It’s how you do it.
You can save a lot of money cooking at home. If you use some savvy planning.
5 Ways to Save Money Cooking at Home
So, instead of spending five times as much as you should, try these ways to save money cooking at home:
1. Cook what you have.
It’s easy to eat at home when you build your meal plans based on what’s in your kitchen already. Don’t buy more; cook what you have.
By regularly cooking what’s already on hand, you’ll save money and be a better steward of your resources. A regular pantry challenge is a great way to curb your spending and avoid waste.
And when you clean out the fridge, you won’t throw away three heads of yellowed broccoli, purchased on multiple shopping trips. Ahem. Because you’ll have used them up before they can go bad.
2. Buy only what you need.
If you don’t cook much Asian food, then don’t buy the gallon jug of soy sauce. Ahem.
Bulk buying can save you money sometimes, but not always. It’s not a good deal if you end up throwing most of it away.
However, remember there are different kinds of “bulk buying” If you need just a bit of a spice you’ve never used, buy a small amount from the bulk bins at the health food store instead of the entire bulk container at Costco.
–> Head here for How Shopping at Costco Saves Me Money
3. Buy what’s on sale.
Don’t buy $6/pound chicken breast because that’s what you feel like having tonight. (And yes, it really was $6/pound in 1994.)
Instead, buy boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale! At about half the price. Buy an extra pack to freeze so that you’ll have some on hand next time the craving hits.
One of the struggles of our modern generation is that we want what we want and we want it now. We need to stop with the Veruca Salt, and learn that to save money, we can’t always have what we want in that instant.
–> Learn how to Shop the Sales.
4. Make your own.
Avoid bottled dressings, sauces, gravies, and salsas. Same goes for pancake, waffle, and muffin mixes. These things are easy to make from scratch, taste better, and cost less. Besides you learned how to measure in first grade math, so you can totally do this!
–> Explore delicious, from-scratch recipes.
5. Enjoy simple meals.
While I am the first to choose prime rib or steak when it’s an option, I also know that a homemade burrito bowl can tastes just as good at a fraction of the price. Save steak (and other high ticket items) for special occasions — and buy them on sale.
I had more than one flashback of our newlywed cottage on Cambridge Drive while writing this. In case you hadn’t guessed, I made all those mistakes and more. Please learn from my failures, my young padawan.