Friday, August 20, 2010

Kitchen Tips for the Frugal Family

If you have a family to care for, you already know how much of your budget gets spent on food and cooking. In fact, this may be one of the biggest items in your budget. So, when it's time to cut back on expenses, the kitchen is the first place many moms look to save money. Here are some kitchen tips to help frugal moms keep their budgets under control.

* Don't let food go bad. If you're like most families, when you clean out your fridge and your cupboards, you probably end up throwing a lot of food away. It might be past its expiry date or already transforming into a different life form. This is a waste of food and money and it is easy to avoid.

If you keep your fridge and cupboards organized, you should be able to easily see what you have in stock. That will remind you to use it before it goes bad. As well, review expiry dates regularly. Then you can remember to use the item before it expires.

* Don't buy too much food. Some grocery stores will offer you discounts if you buy in bulk. However, that's only a good deal if you're actually going to use all the food you purchase. It is a common mistake to buy too much because it looks like you're saving a lot of money. In the long run, you may be spending more than you need to on food you won't use.

* Make your own condiments. Condiments like salad dressings, seasonings, and sauces can easily be made at home. That can cut a lot out of your grocery bill. Look for recipes for dressings, salsas, chilli sauces, vinegar, marinades, and so on. They will probably be a lot healthier for you than store-bought ones as well.

* Cook from scratch. There are many convenience items available in the grocery store. However, you can cut down on expenses by cooking from scratch. Instead of relying on high-priced convenience items to save you time, you can manage your time in the kitchen better by planning ahead and cooking more than one meal at a time.

* Eat what is in season. You can save money by choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season. They will be lower priced than other, off season, items. If you're not sure what is in season, you can do some research or ask your grocer.

* Eat what is grown locally. Because locally grown foods don't have to be shipped, they cost less once they reach the store. You can even buy directly from local growers at farmers markets.

* Try cooking vegetarian meals. Meats are often very expensive. One way to save money is by trying to cook more meatless meals. If your family isn’t ready to go vegetarian, you can start by having a meatless night once a week. Even that small step will cut down on your kitchen spending.

The kitchen is full of opportunities to cut back and save money. Following the above tips will help frugal moms keep their kitchen spending under control.

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