Let me start out this post by saving that I am by no means an expert when it comes to being frugal. While Robbie and I are very careful with money in the big picture and rarely make large purchases for things we don't need or splurge for top-of-the-line models, we (okay, I) do indulge in non-necessities (like my beloved grande lattes) on a daily basis. In other words, I'm pretty sure that if I was a leader in money-saving skills, buying $5 coffee beverages almost everyday wouldn't be allowed. That said, now that we've got two little ones and are in the market to buy a house, we've gotten a lot better about noticing where our money is going on the smaller things - and have therefore learned how to save in ways that add up around the house. There is nowhere we've seen this prove truer than in the kitchen, and today, I'm going to share some of my top kitchen saving tips with you guys.
1. Opt for high quality trash bags. This is actually a big one. We used to buy low quality trash bags for the kitchen because they were so cheap, and it ultimately backfired because they were constantly ripping (and making really gross messes), which meant we had to waste money buying more and more of them. Now we use Hefty Ultra Strong bags, which are not only outstanding quality, they're also now available for a new, lower price. I love that they use Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers and new, invigorating scents to help keep odors at bay, but also offer a scent-free option for those who prefer it. And they use active tear resistant technology for better puncture resistance, so we can fit a lot of garbage into them without the fear of constant rips like with our old bags. Go grab some for yourself at Target or Walmart, and then earn $1.00 cash back via Ibotta after purchasing a box!
2. Drink water with meals. The cost of juice, soda, etc. adds up (both in terms of money and sugar consumption). We always drink water with meals and throughout the day, and we opt to use reusable water containers over plastic water bottles when taking water with us. (Bonus tip: If it's better for the environment in terms of eliminating waste, it's usually better for your wallet too.)
3. Make your own kitchen cleansers. Really all you need to clean your entire kitchen is water, baking soda, vinegar, and citrus fruits. You can combine them in various ways to create a myriad of cleaners for everything from your stove to your sink to your counters to your fridge.
4. Use cloth napkins. Choosing cloth napkins (and dish rags) over disposable paper ones can save you quite a bit of money over time. (And like tip #2, it's better for the earth as well.)
5. Freeze your fruit. We buy a ton of fruit in this house, and sometimes it starts to go bad before we use it. If I think fruit is getting close to that point, I cut it up, freeze it, and use it in smoothies and smoothie bowls (which I eat for lunch almost everyday).
6. Eat leftovers. Maybe this seems like a given, but it's something of which I need to be constantly reminded because I'm innately terrible about it. One trick that has helped us to use up extra food is to experiment with different ways to use it in recipes so it doesn't feel like we're eating the same thing night after night. Bowls are great for this - you can top brown rice or quinoa with almost anything!
7. Buy in bulk. Most health food stores and many grocery stores have bulk sections where you can buy beans, rice, lentils, nuts, oats, etc. in bulk and use your own containers. Choosing this option over pre-packaged saves a lot of money over time.
8. Try vegetarian. This might sound biased since I don't personally don't eat meat, but you can ask my meat loving husband - it's (usually) a lot less expensive to eat vegetarian. Try replacing just a couple of meals a week with meat-free options and keep track of the extra money you have over a few months.
9. Buy whole produce. It's so easy to just grab already prepared produce at the grocery store (those pre-cut pineapples and watermelon slices are especially tempting for me, as is pre-made guacamole), but you're way better off money-wise by just buying the whole produce and preparing it yourself.
10. Use your kitchen. For years (and years, and years) I was the take-out queen. I've never been particularly fond of or good at cooking, and let's face it - when you're busy, picking up your phone and a take-out menu is incredibly appealing. But by actually using your kitchen and making your own meals, you're generally eating healthier and you're absolutely saving money. For the last year or so we have opted to make our own meals over ordering food and eating out except for very rare occasions. It adds up.
I hope these tips prove as useful to you as they have to us. And if you have any kitchen savings tips of your own, I'd love to hear them!
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