Budgeting is never easy. With the financial stress that comes with it, making ends meet every month is difficult. A budget is created around the expected amount of money available to spend, and matched with the goods which needed to be bought. Spending over budget can become a habit which leads to debt. Spending under budget leads to savings which can be used for future emergencies.
Asking yourself how to save money in the kitchen is a good starting point when creating a budget. Sticking to a budget is not easy because it takes discipline and planning. It also helps if there are no big ticket items which need to be bought, nor any unexpected emergencies. The budget should also take extra expenses into consideration. If there are any events like birthdays, or holiday spending like Halloween, these should be included in the budget.
Living within the budget is also another matter. You would need to do some extra work. It includes growing food in the garden, maintaining kitchen appliances, buying in bulk, and buying in season. Compromises happen, and adjustments have to be made to stretch the purchases. There are also other things which a new mom should consider including electricity bills, size of purchases, and the taste of food. Below are ten ways on how to save money in the kitchen.
1. List down grocery items you need to buy.
Having a list will help you save money during groceries. If you know the products you need, this will prevent you from purchasing unnecessary goods. You can also prioritize the list and remove items which you don’t need. Listing down grocery items will help you budget and avoid overspending.
2. Prepare a weekly meal plan.
This easy and simple practice will help you save a lot of money. Make it a habit to create a weekly meal plan so you’ll know what meal items to buy in the market. Avoid unnecessary items and stick to the ingredients in your meal plan. To make things a little easier, include a leftovers day in the plan, and a special something for weekends. Another benefit of having a meal plan is you won’t need to think about what you’re going to cook just before cooking it. This helps lower any kitchen or cooking stress you may have.
3. Grow a backyard veggie garden.
Having your own vegetable garden can greatly contribute to your finances. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying vegetables because you can easily harvest them in the comfort of your own home. You can plant squash, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. Aside from that, you can also grow fruits and spices instead of buying them in store. Having pots of herbs in your kitchen allows you to grab a bundle and add them to your dishes.
4. Minimize kitchen appliances with do-it-all cookers
There are now appliances for making almost every meal, but most of the time a do-it-all cooker can get the job done. Save on having to buy rice cookers, slow cookers, electric cookers, and more with a crockpot or 10-in-1 Instant Pot Ultra. These handy appliances save time in the kitchen and are a new mom’s best friend.
5. Purchase fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Fruits and vegetables are best eaten when fresh and in season. The most delicious and finest products are found in the farmer’s market, however, they are not accessible all year round. In order to save money, create a meal plan that incorporates the vegetables and fruits available during the season.
6. Purchase grocery items in bulk.
Most grocery items, especially the staple, are much cheaper when they are bought in large quantities. Always keep in mind the shelf life, unit cost, and the necessity of the item before buying them in bulk. Knowing this will help you save money and prevent you from wasting them.
7. Prepare large meal batches and eat leftovers.
Cooking large batches of food will save you time and money. You can take them to work and avoid eating at expensive restaurants. Leftovers help stretch the budget because it means you don’t have to cook from scratch. You can heat up the leftovers for a quick snack, or you can use the leftovers as ingredients for other dishes. Repurposing leftovers can be incorporated into the meal plan.
8. Create your own stock.
You can make an easy chicken stock out of leftover roasted chicken. Simply take the excess fat, skin, and bones of the chicken and put in a large pot. Add several carrots, celery, and slices of onion to the put. Then add water, salt, pepper, and other spices to the mixture. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat. Allow it to simmer for several hours, 4 to 6 ideally. After that, you can strain the stock and refrigerate it for future use.
9. Use your toaster when baking small meal batches.
An oven-toaster uses less amount of energy when cooking compared to a full-size oven. This nifty kitchen appliance is ideal for making toasted sandwiches, cookies, and other dishes. Less energy means less electricity consumption which results in a lower electricity bill.
10. Be creative with your meals.
Throwing away food is wasteful. As much as possible, try to make the most out of the contents of your fridge and pantry, as long as it’s still edible! To do this, keep your leftovers and try to incorporate with your latest meal plan. Be creative and give your inner chef free reign to experiment and improvise. You can add your leftovers in your soups, stir fry, hash, stews, and lots of other meals. Overripe fruits like mangoes and bananas will still make delicious shakes or smoothies. With creativity and ingenuity, leftovers will never be boring and you won’t need to throw them away.
Some of these tips might take time to implement and to master, but the payoff is worth it, so don’t lose hope and just keep at it. Saving money is a long game. It doesn’t happen overnight. Cultivating responsible spending habits requires a winning strategy and lots of patience. Consider these tips, modify them as you will, and stick to them, and you will reap positive results in your finances in the future.