Thursday, April 14, 2016

Frugal Tips For Saving In The Kitchen

Some of you will have heard these before but some newer readers may not have. But it is always a good thing to refresh your memory anyhow. So here are  some of my frugal tips for savings in the kitchen:

-  Always make a list to take to the market. Don't buy a thing that is not on that list unless you see an unadvertised special at rock bottom prices that you will use up in the next few months.

- Use coupons. I know there aren't many really valuable ones anymore but print the ones you can use on things like HBA, OTC medicines, toilet paper and cleaning products. Take full advantage of any coupons for $X.XX off of $ XX.XX that are in the newspapers or can be printed online. These come along infrequently, at least in my neck of the woods.

- Eat before you shop. If you are hungry, you will come home with lots of snacks. If Hubby can't stay away from the snacks, leave him home. My Hubby doesn't go in a market unless I am ill. He is too dangerous with the budget when he does.

- Scan your meat counter for reduced for quick sale meat. If you can't use it right away, freeze it. I have never had a problem with reduced price meat. The ground beef that was bad last night was purchased on a sale but was not reduced for quick sale.

- Scan your bakery for reduced price breads, your produce section for reduced price produce, and your dairy section for those mark downs. 

- Try the store brands. You may decide that they are just as good as the name brands and cost a whole lot less. If you don't like something, take your receipt back and they will refund your money. My Aldi's will do this. You can bet that I got a refund on that beef that I threw down the disposal last night.

- Compare your unit prices. My state requires that they show them on the shelf price. This makes it easier to compare them by the ounce or lb. But even when they didn't, a small calculator helped me figure them out. The large size is not always the best deal.

- Keep a price book and write down those unit prices. Update it when you see a lower price for a product. This is how I know when something is at rock bottom.

- Carefully watch the scanner while you are being checked out. Mistakes are made and bring it to the cashier's attention.

- If you planned on buying a sale item and your store is out, get a rain check.

- Convenience foods are rarely in my cart. I try to buy the majority of our food in the dairy, meat, produce, and seafood departments. We buy minimal processed foods. 

- Ignore the candy, gum and magazines at checkout.

-  Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Freeze or can fruits when they are at their peak.

- Most of the time it is cheaper to buy in bulk. But make sure you can eat your bulk items before they expire.

-Bake your own bread and rolls. If you can't, buy them at the bakery outlet store.

- Make  your own yogurt, pasta, salad dressings or anything else  that is easily made in your kitchen.

- Eat meatless 1- 3 times a week. Meat is expensive. Veggies, fruits, beans, rice and pasta are cheaper.

- A good cookbook is how I learned to cook. My Good Housekeeping Cookbook from the 1960's is priceless.

-Make your own laundry, dishwasher and hand soaps.

- Drink water. Stay away from soda. It is expensive sugary colored water that isn't good for you. Hubby is still drinking it but not as much as he used to. I drink water all day long except for one cup of coffee in the morning.

-  Wash out and reuse your Ziploc bags except the ones that held meat.   

- Use cloth napkins at your table and micro fiber cloths, bar towels or rags to clean with.

- Cut back on store bought plastic bags for garbage. Use any bag that comes into your home including market plastic bags, bulk toilet paper bags, department store shopping bags, etc. instead.

- Make two casseroles and freeze one.

- Use kitchen towels instead of paper towels. We have one color for dishes and one for everything else.

- Save any jars from items that you do use to drain grease into. Don't pour it down the drain.  When it gets full, throw it in the garbage. Your pipes and wallet will thank you.

- Use those same jars to store pasta, rice, or beans.

- Save your veggie peelings in the freezer. When you get a full bag, make vegetable broth.

- Save leftover veggies and meat scraps in a freezer bag. When you get enough, make soup.

- Save butter wrappers in a baggie to use for  greasing pans.

- Change all of the light bulbs in your kitchen to LED's. Not only will you save money but your kitchen will be so bright to cook in. My kitchen is in the center of the house and does not have a window. Changing my bulbs over has made my kitchen so bright that it is a joy to cook and clean in.

- Use your smaller appliances. Most times they will save you on utility bills. Use your toaster oven instead of your oven. When I use  my large oven, I fill it and I use the convection feature which cuts 25% of the time needed and hence the extra natural  gas.

- Don't sight see with your refrigerator door or freezer door open. Get in and out quickly to save on energy.

- When you use your crockpot, fill it to make many meals. Either eat it up many nights straight or freeze some of it for other meals.

- Open your oven door in the winter after you use it to get the residual heat out into your kitchen.

- Always size your pots to the burner size on your stove and use covers when you cook.

- I use my Keurig to get hot water to make my oatmeal. It costs less than heating it in the microwave or on the stove. 

- Only turn on the dishwasher when it is full. This saves energy.

- Save your cold water from your kitchen tap while waiting for the water to warm up. Use it in your gardens or to make iced tea or lemonade.

- Keep what you actually use in your kitchen. Anything else get rid of. Larger appliances that you only use once or twice a year, find a spot in the basement or garage to store them. Better yet, ask yourself do you really need them?   A more organized kitchen makes it easier to cook. 

-Change your refrigerator filters regularly. Wash your stove top filter too. Take your dishwasher apart and clean out the filters, arm and other removable parts at least once a month. Not only will it keep your dishwasher clean but it will keep it odor free. Run a lemon Kool Aid packet wash through it once in a while. No need to buy an expensive citrus cleaner made especially for the dishwasher.  Vacuum your refrigerator coils to keep it energy efficient.

- Clean your garbage disposal with a mixture  of lemon juice and baking soda to keep it odor free. I buy powdered lemon juice that I reconstitute for this purpose.

- I use a tablespoon of homemade dishwasher detergent and use vinegar in the rinse compartment.

- Don't put potato, apple or citrus peels down your garbage disposal. When we lived in Arizona, I found out the hard way.

- I recycle everything I can so as to not have more than a bag of garbage a week. Yes, even the toilet paper cardboard tubes when the paper is gone. All junk mail goes in the recyclable bin along with the envelopes from bills. All white paper, plastic, cardboard packaging, cans, glass,newspapers, etc. I always check for the recyclable symbols.

- Turn your oven and stove top burners off a few minutes before things are done. The residual heat will finish the cooking and you will save energy.

I am sure that I missed some but I have to get moving. I have a long day out in another city. Let's hope Hubby makes tonight's dinner because I won't be home until very late. You all have a great day!


  1. Read your post this morning....went grocery shopping....looked in the "quick sale" in the meat dept. and picked up 4lbs. of chuck and lean ground beef for 3.00 a pkg., so that figured out to 2.25 per lb.! I have looked at other times, but the meat always looked a bit old....but these pkgs. had another day to be in the regular meat display case. BTW, I re-packaged them into 1lb. increments and they are now in the freezer!

  2. Great tips! You have given me some new ideas. Thank you!
    Hope you have a great day!

  3. I have always been told to put the citrus peels, but not potato peels down the garbage disposal. I know that the potato peels will cause huge problems but the citrus peels have never been a problems for me and the oils in them helped clean and deodorize the disposal.

    1. Hi Debbie,

      They clogged mine. You must have a more heavy duty one than I do.

  4. Love all the tips. I had to smile at using the butter wrappers to grease pans. Reminds me of my childhood - we always used to do this :)

    I too use citrus peels to help my garbage disposal smell fresh. Never had any blockage from it. My dad has always used potato and other veggie peels as fertilizer in the garden. Egg shells can be used as well.

    For those who use juicers. I save all the leftover pulp (apples, oranges, carrots, ginger) and use it to bake muffins. I just add some vanilla essence and cinnamon to a basic muffin recipe, for flavour.

    1. Hi Pubbler,

      I hope you and your family are well. I have been using the butter wrappers since I got married. My grandmother always used them.

      Thanks so much for the tip on the muffins. YUM!