Thursday, 25 April 2013

how-to: save money in the kitchen

Welcome to my second how-to post! My first received some great feedback, so I hope you enjoy this one just as much.

i want this

I always click on blog posts related to saving money. Especially when it's about saving money on food. I have learned a lot by simply reading how some people save money in the kitchen, so I thought I'd give you some tried and tested ideas that our family lives by.

1. Have a plan. 
>> create a weekly meal plan. You can even create four to six weekly meal plans that you rotate.
>> make a list. Take your list with you to the grocery store and don't veer from it.
>> set a realistic budget. The budget might even change seasonally (we'll likely reduce ours for the summer).

2. Don't waste.
You know that left over chicken breast that you just dumped in the garbage? You could have re-purposed it to make wraps, stir fry, or pizza. I have become the master of left-over meals. We always try to come up with new and innovative ways to make our food last longer, even if it is just a few ounces of left over meat.

3. Befriend your freezer. 
There are tons of ways to make your freezer your friend. Some people like making large casseroles and freezing the extras. Others like chopping up their vegetables as soon as they get home and freezing them in plastic bags. I like to freeze food that would otherwise go to waste if I didn't. Things like pitas and wraps, that sometimes expire before we use them, are great to freeze. 

4. Limit Disposables. >> use a cloth instead of paper towel to wipe up counters and mess
>> wash and re-use ziploc bags that haven't contained raw meat
>> save all your plastic bags (milk bags, veggie bags, etc) for things like garbage or lunches
>> buy some good quality glass containers for your left-overs and lunches, say goodbye to saran wrap!

5. Clean with green products.
Cleaning products are expensive, which is why I never buy them! I clean with vinegar, boiling water, baking soda, slices of lemon and occasionally Old Dutch (you can buy 2 for $1 at the Dollar Store).

6. Stop buying packaged foods.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Snack on fruits and veggies instead of packaged snacks, because they're way cheaper and way healthier for you!

7. Limit cereal.
Trust me, I know, cereal is a North American staple. It's also full of sugar and calories. If you stop buying cereal you'll save the $3 - $6/box PLUS whatever you save on milk (whenever we don't buy cereal our milk lasts us twice as long!)

8. Shop prices.
Find a grocery store with the best prices in your area, and take advantage of price matching (ask your cashier what the store's policy is on price matching, some stores just don't advertise that they do it!) In the summer consider going to a farmer's market, or buying a farm share. 

9. Plant your own herbs.
I'm seeing a lot online about planting your own herb garden, and I think this week I'm going to do just that. I have no patience to literally plant them, so I'll buy a ready made box that I just need to water. If you have grass, consider planting some fruits and vegetables too.

10. Get creative. 
One night a week try to just get creative and pull a recipe together using ingredients in your house that are long forgotten. After a few months you'll have cleaned out your pantry and you might have some new recipes that you really enjoy!

I have so many more tips that I could share, but these are some of my favourites. Please give me your ideas -- you know I love money saving suggestions!


  1. I love the idea of making large batches of meals and then freezing them or putting them in the fridge. I do that with my breakfast (oatmeal) and make a huge batch for the whole week, and when I'm working I'll prep all of my lunches on Sunday night so I just grab and go in the mornings. Most helpful post. :)

  2. I'm loving all your how-to posts so far! :) Another idea - Bake! My husband and I need to have snacks during the day during work... I try to make sure to make a loaf of banana bread every week so that we have enough to snack on (or eat for a quick breaky!) If I don't...I always end up buying cookies/chips/etc. to snack on. Not only is it more money..it's also very unhealthy! Banana bread also uses up all those old bananas we didn't eat and froze (My freezer is literally full of them! haha) Another way not to waste :)

  3. coupon:) lots of coupon websites that help save --another is if you have a dollar store nearby buy bread there- way cheaper and just as good

    1. Do you have any suggestiona for coupon websites?

    2. Websaver.ca. Save.ca Gocoupons.ca.