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Between the food, the cleaning supplies, the appliances, the electricity, the gas, the water and the eating utensils; the kitchen is a money pit of sorts. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. There are a variety of techniques you can use to save a significant amount of money on kitchen expenses.
We have scoured the blogosphere and discovered the top 10 frugal kitchen hacks. Follow these tips and watch as your kitchen costs quickly diminish.
TIP NO. 1 COMES FROM FINANCIALLY WISE ON HEELS
Use the Oven Wisely
It takes a while to preheat most ovens and with each minute, your electric and/or gas bills are creeping ever so higher. That’s why it is crucial to use your oven efficiently. The best way to do that is to cook multiple meals in the overn at the same time (if they can both be done at the same temperature) or to keep the oven on once you have completed the first dish and immediately adjust the temperature and timer and put in the next dish. As Financially Wise On Heels’ Reelika says, “It saves you money when not heating up your oven for every single meal.”
TIP NO. 2 COMES FROM TWO KIDS AND A BUDGET
Maintain Your Dishwasher
Just like any other machine, dishwashers need regular cleaning and maintenance. Unfortunately, many people overlook this critical fact and wind up with dishwashers that don’t perform optimally. This eventually leads to a situation where the dishwasher needs to run two or even three times to adequately clean everything. That extra usage will show up on the electric and water bills and can be completely avoided with basic maintenance. As Two Kids And A Budget’s Tennille points out, “When your dishes get cleaned the first time you save money.”
TIP NO. 3 COMES FROM LIFE AS MOM
Make the Most of the Food on Hand
One of the most common traps so many people fall into is forgetting, or possibly ignoring, the food that is available. Instead they buy new food, while the existing inventory spoils and gets thrown away. This is a cardinal sin if you really want to become more frugal in the kitchen. Before deciding what you plan to eat, always take stock of what you already have and come up with a meal idea for which you can use your existing ingredients. As Jessica from Life As Mom notes, “By regularly cooking what’s already on hand, you’ll save money and be a better steward of your resources.
TIP NO. 4 COMES FROM FRUGAL DEBT FREE LIFE
Don’t Trash Aluminum Foil or Ziploc Bags
This one does come with one very important caveat. If you have used the foil or the bag with raw meat or some other sort of potentially hazardous substance then you should by all means dispose of it in the garbage. Otherwise, there’s no reason for you not to reuse your foil and Ziploc bags. In fact, they can be used over and over again. Given how expensive those items have become, the savings adds up quick. As Lydia from Frugal Debt Free Life observes, “This is not only good for the planet, it is good for your wallet.”
TIP NO. 5 COMES FROM THE MARATHON MOM
DIY Cleaning Supplies
Did you realize you could make your own kitchen cleaners? Well you can, and it’s actually way easier than you might imagine. Brandy from The Marathon Mom has compiled an outstanding list of tutorials for various kitchen cleaning products. As an added bonus, not only do DIY cleaning supplies save you quite a bit of money, they are often more natural and safer to boot. As Brandy mentions in her post, “You don’t have to spend extra money on organic, all-natural cleaning products to replace traditional, chemical-laden ones.”
TIP NO. 6 COMES FROM YOUR MODERN FAMILY
Having a messy kitchen can lead to a whole host of invisible costs that you don’t even realize. It’s a primary culprit for why people buy food they already have and it is also typically responsible for the purchase of duplicate kitchen tools. Perhaps most of all, a kitchen in disarray can cause stress and encourage you to avoid the kitchen entirely and spend more cash eating out. As Becky from Your Modern Family puts it, “Make your kitchen a central organizing hub in your household and you will see how not only your time is saved, but money as well.”
TIP NO. 7 COMES FROM CREATIVE SAVINGS BLOG
Freeze Extra Milk Before It Goes Bad
As milk prices have spiked over the past few years, this tip has become even more valuable. Rather than tossing whatever milk is left in the carton or bottle as it approaches the expiration date, simply store it in a muffin pan and freeze the remainder. The technique is very easy and explained nicely on the Creative Savings Blog. The frozen milk packets might not be ideal for drinking, but work great in smoothies or baked goods. As Kalyn from the Creative Savings Blog exclaims, “I don’t have to let any of my milk go to waste, no matter when it expires!”
TIP NO. 8 COMES FROM SNAIL PACE TRANSFORMATIONS
Clean With Cloth Rags
Sure, paper towels might be convenient, but they come at a cost. The more frequently you use paper towels to clean up spills and messes, the more money is disappearing from your bank account. Think of it this way, every time you clean a little something with paper towels, you are essentially spending a few cents. That can all be avoided by turning to cloth rags. They are reusable and versatile. As Victoria affirms on Snail Pace Transformations, “Having a good supply of cloth rags to clean up spills does reduce the amount of paper towels.”
TIP NO. 9 COMES FROM MY STAY AT HOME ADVENTURES
Store and Save Your Chicken
Chicken is a staple of the average American diet, but it’s astonishing how much of it is wasted. You can save money by getting a whole chicken at the store and then taking it apart yourself. That way you can create several meals, instead of just getting one or two meals when you buy the parts separately. It’s also smart to shred or dice any leftover chicken and freeze it. As Joyce from My State At Home Adventures writes, “I try to measure out 1 or 2 cups per freezer bag to make it easy to cook with. Then I have cooked chicken ready to go for soups, fajitias, casseroles and more!”
TIP NO. 10 COMES FROM THRIFTY FRUGAL MOM
Keep the Scraps for Soup
It’s almost second nature for many people to toss out whatever scraps are remaining after a meal. Stuff like carrot peels, bones, stalks from vegetables, or the skin from fruit is quickly deposited in the trash. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Those items can be saved, refrigerated and re-used for soups and stocks in the future. You could save on entire meals by eating stews made from the scraps you used to throw out. An initially skeptical Lydia from Thrifty Frugal Mom admits these soups can also be delicious, “To my surprise, we absolutely loved the first soup that I made from my Soup Bucket.”