Cooking on a budget: cooking at home can save you a lot – Part 2
Ah, home cooking! A day by day journey of experimentation and practice, but it can also be a way to save a lot of money! I hope you are already applying some of the tips I gave you about eating on a budget, but how about some more ideas to help you optimize your money while enjoying more time in the kitchen?
Shop based on which groceries are on sale
There are always a few products on sale at groceries stores. Take a little bit of time in your day to make do some quick research, find the best deals and plan meals for the day or week based on what is on sale. If you make this a habit, you can buy products for less than 50% of its original price.
Adjust what you cook according to the season
After a run through the produce section, it shouldn’t be difficult to determine what’s in season and what isn’t. Shop at a local farmer’s market and you will save money by paying attention to what produce is overstocked at the time.
Buy a bigger quantity of produce when it’s in season and can or freeze the extra.
When produce is in season, it’s the lowest price and a guarantee that it will be a good quality – at least better than out of season. Cook with that ingredient as much as you can, and whatever you think you won’t be able to use, freeze it. If you prefer, there’s always the possibility of canning and preserving it.
Don’t throw away fruits that are becoming overripe!
If fruit is starting to overripe, you are probably not going to being able to eat it all in time, but that’s not a reason to throw it away. If you freeze the leftover fruit, you can use it later on ice cream, in muffins and sweet breads, and in many other recipes. Be creative!
Keep the leftovers in clear containers
If you can see what’s in the containers in your pantry at a glance, there’s a bigger chance you will eat the leftovers. You can buy inexpensive clear plastic or glass ones at the supermarket.
Buy all the dry goods from the bulk section
The packaging tends to raise the price of food products, so buying loose products you bag yourself in bulk bins may save you a lot of money and allows you to buy the exact amount that you need. Bulk bins usually offer many kinds of products, like spices, baking supplies, grains, pasta, nuts and dried fruits.
Shop at specialized stores instead of regular supermarkets
Specialized stores tend to offer a better price than regular supermarkets. If you need supplies for your kitchen, try a restaurant/chef supply store. If you want Asian products, the better option is an Asian store.
Grow your own vegetables
If you have a little bit of space, a garden or even a window with good sun will allow you to grow a few vegetables! You can plant seeds or regrow parts of the vegetables you bought in the grocery store! That way you can save a lot of money and appreciate life happening right in front of your eyes.
If you have kids at home, buy smaller fruit
When you buy those huge and luscious fruits, little ones aren’t often able to eat them all at once. Don’t throw food away. If possible, save the leftovers, or simply buy smaller fruits.
Serve fruit as a dessert
Aside from eating them by itself, you can make fruit salads, parfaits with yogurt or strawberries with cream. If your family is used to baked goods, start by adding a sprinkle of sugar on top of fruit, and little by little, everyone will get used to the taste of fruit, which is healthier and cheaper.
Saving money and food while home cooking isn’t so hard. You have all the tools you need, just start saving! Even better than the money you’ll save, your family may eat healthier!