By Debra McDuffee
It seems that when I look at our budget, the greater portion of our expenses seem to be spent on food. Yes, we are self-proclaimed Foodies, so we tend to splurge on good things to eat. The good news is that there are ways to save money in the kitchen; your love of food doesn't have to break the bank.
1. Make a weekly menu and shop accordingly: Creative meal planning wastes less. You'll be less apt to buy things that aren't on your grocery list, and you'll have everything you need for the week's meals, thereby saving gas on fewer trips to the grocery store.
2. Use extra foods to make soups or stews: It's OK to buy that jumbo bag of broccoli florets. After you use what you need in Tuesday's stir-fry, throw the rest into a pot with onions, broth, some dried beans, and some seasonings. The result will be a healthy soup that you can freeze for lunches later. Some of my favorite meals have been the clean-out-the-refrigerator-stews!
3. Run the dishwasher only when it's full, and use the energy saver dry option: You'll save water, energy, and soap, which saves you money.
4. Make your own green cleaners: You'll find recipes for homemade cleaners, like baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils, all over DIY Life. Why spend the three to four dollars on the store-bought green cleaner, when you have everything you need already in your house?
5. Cook from scratch: Convenience foods cost money in the long run, and if you keep a well-stocked pantry full of seasonings, you'll be able to eat healthier, whole foods for less -- really!
If you make your own taco seasoning, for instance, you won't have to spend the three dollars on the taco kit. It's much cheaper just to buy the taco shells and some salsa, both of which will last you for several meals.
Isn't it amazing how a few small changes could really start to add up in savings -- on food, gas, water, energy costs, and cleaning supplies? Wow!