With costs on the rise, you’re probably looking for easy ways to save money on food and in the kitchen. Today I’m going to share with you 30 easy ways to save money on food including tips such as cooking from scratch, eating at home and going meatless!
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30 Easy Ways to Save Money on Food and in the Kitchen
Inflation is a hot topic these days and it seems that just about everyone is struggling to keep their grocery budgets under control.
I’m no exception and have definitely been feeling the pinch as I try to feed my growing family of six without breaking the bank.
The good news is that with a little creativity and resourcefulness you can learn to keep costs down and stay within your budget, which is why today I’m going to share thirty of my best tips for saving money on food and in the kitchen.
Cook from Scratch
Don’t pay extra for boxed dinners and meals. These are great on occasion, but cooking from scratch will save you a ton of money in the long run and be healthier. Simply put the more you cook from scratch, the more you will save. Learn to make things like chili, lasagna, breadsticks and strawberry jam from scratch and you’ll be on your way to cutting your grocery bill in a hurry!
- Cheap Pantry Meals with 4-Ingredients or Less
- 50 Cheap and Easy Recipes
- 25 Old-Fashioned Recipes Your Grandma Knew by Heart
Just about any and every convenience product found at the store can be made at home for a fraction of the price. Things like seasoning mixes, condiments, bread products, chicken broth, tomato sauce and so much more can easily be made from scratch. The more you DIY, the more you will save.
- 40 Groceries You Should Make at Home to Save Hundreds of Dollars
- 35 Frugal Recipes to Make When You’re Broke
Eat at Home
This tip sounds so simple and yet we have grown accustomed to having food available at every turn, which is a great help, but it’s also given us an excuse not to plan ahead.
The best way to not spend money on eating out is to plan ahead. Take into consideration lunches at work, snacks when you’re out running errands and even keeping an extra frozen pizza in the freezer on those nights that you don’t have time to cook. If implementing these tips sounds hard, then be sure to check out my post 6 Tips to Avoid Eating Out.
Learn How to Cook Dried Beans
If you’re a family that eats a lot of beans, then you may want to learn how to cook them from scratch instead of buying and storing a bunch of cans. I promise you that this is a really easy skill to learn and will save you money in the long run.
Check out my post on How to Make Pinto Beans in the Slow Cooker to learn more.
Make Your Coffee at Home
What’s a frugal living post without telling you to make your coffee at home, right?? The occasional Starbucks coffee may be a nice treat, but buying it on an everyday basis is nuts. Save your cash and opt to brew your own at home for a fraction of the price.
Reverse Meal Plan
Reverse meal planning simply means, plan as many meals as you can from the food that you already have in your house instead of what might sound good. This practice leaves room in your weekly grocery budget for you to take advantage of sales and low priced items. If you aren’t already practicing reverse meal planning, then I would advise you to give it try and seem if it doesn’t save you a good amount of money.
Stock Up on Sale Items
It’s smart to leave some wiggle room in your grocery budget to stock up on items that are on sale each week. Doing this allows you to purchase as much as you can at it’s lowest price, saving you tons of money in the long run. Even if it’s only $5-10 per week, it will still add up to lots of savings over time.
Add a Filler to Ground Meat
Adding things like lentils or oats to your ground meat will make it go further and in most cases, no on will notice a difference. Of course it’s best practice to disclose any hidden ingredients if you are serving to guests who might have a food allergy. See my post How to Stretch Your Ground Beef Using Oats to learn more.
Stay Out of the Grocery Store
The more you frequent the grocery store, the more money you will spend. Plan on only going to the store once every week or less. If you run out of something, go without it until your next planned trip. Also, don’t go to the store hungry or you will make more impulse purchases.
Another great tip is to stay out of the grocery store completely by scheduling pick up orders or having your groceries delivered. As a mom of four young children, this saves me on a weekly basis and I’ve found that not going into the store helps me to stick to my budget better.
Do a Pantry Challenge
I’m a huge fan of pantry challenges because they force you to use up what you already have and also help to save you money.
If you aren’t familiar with the practice, a pantry challenge is simply reducing your grocery budget to a smaller amount and prioritizing eating from your pantry for whatever length of time you desire.
You can make your own rules, but the point is to lower your grocery budget and use up what you already have in the house instead of buying fresh for a short length of time.
Eat Simple Foods
We live in a world where anything is available at our finger tips 24 hrs per day and it’s costing us. Keep your food simple and your wallet will thank you. Opt for meals like beans and rice, spaghetti, chicken soup, sandwiches, eggs and toast, etc. Learning to eat simple food is a great way to save money. Check out my list of 30 Frugal Meals to get started.
If you get into the practice of cooking enough for dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day, you’re sure to save money. Also, if you find yourself with a lot of leftovers you may want to plan a leftovers for dinner night each week to ensure food isn’t going to waste.
Brown Bag Your Lunch
Eating lunch out everyday is costly to your health, your wallet and the environment. Planing ahead and bringing your own lunch is an easy way to save money on food. A great way to do this is to meal prep for the week on Sunday and lunch is as easy as grabbing it out of the fridge! Of course you can also bring leftovers to reheat which is my personal favorite type of lunch.
You don’t have to become a vegetarian, but the more meatless meals that you incorporate into your diet, the more money you will save. Some ideas to get you started are bean & cheese burritos, quesadillas, lentil tacos, pancakes, vegetable soup, potato soup, cheese pizza or meatless lasagna.
Make Your Own Bone Broth
Homemade bone broth is as easy as keeping a bag in the freezer for chicken bones and vegetable scraps. Once the bag is full simply dump into a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook. Once the broth is done, strain out the scraps, salt and keep in the fridge or the freezer. For full tutorials check out, Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Broth and How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Broth.
Let’s face it, no one needs to buy name brand items. Buying generic will save you a ton of money in the long run and normally they taste exactly the same. So why not opt for the store brand the next time you’re grocery shopping and see if it works for your family?
Eat Beans More Often
Beans are a cheap and healthy source of protein that can be used in a majority of different ways. If you learn to eat beans once per week in place of meat, then you’re grocery budget is sure to come down. Check out my list of 25 Ways to Cook With Beans to get started.
Learn How to Make Several Meals with One Chicken
Have you ever bought a whole chicken and roasted it in the oven at home? If not, you’re missing out on a good amount of savings. I know the store-bought chickens taste good, but you can make one just as tasty with proper seasonings and cooking method.
Once you’ve made your chicken, save all of the leftover meat to use the next night in chicken salad or a chicken casserole. The more meals that you can get from one chicken, the more money you will save. Also, don’t forget to save the chicken bones to make homemade bone broth for FREE!
Grow Your Own Food
I’m a huge advocate for learning to grow your own food. The best way to save money by growing food is to take inventory of the produce that your family eats the most and finding a way to grow it at home, if possible.
Fresh herbs are extremely expensive at the grocery store, but if grown at home you will save a ton of money, if that’s something that you are already buying. Things like green beans, squash, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are easy to grow.
Just about anyone can grow at least one or two plants on a balcony or windowsill. The more food you can grow yourself, the more money you will save. See my post, 10 Easy to Grow Vegetables for Beginner Gardeners to learn more.
Buy in Bulk
If you’re family goes through a lot of oats, beans, lentils, canned corn, salsa, etc. then look into buying it in bulk to save. Just make sure that your family will actually eat the food before it goes bad or you won’t be saving money at all.
Make Your Own Bulk Seasoning Mixes
Seasoning packets are great for convenience, but can easily be made at home in bulk to save and always have on hand. Some of my favorites to make at home are Taco Seasoning, Chili Seasoning and Ranch Seasoning.
Regrow Green Onions
Buy a pack of green onions at the store and use them as usual, then simply place the bulb and roots in either water or soil. They will regrow quickly and you should be able to keep them for awhile this way. Planting them in soil is the best method as they will regrown for a longer period of time.
Berries are dirt cheap in the summer and sky-high in the winter. Learning to choose your produce based on what is in season will save you money. The best foods to buy in the summer (where I live) are cucumbers, berries, corn and melons. The best foods to buy in the winter are kale, radish, cabbage and snap peas.
If you have leftovers, but you know that they won’t be eaten before they go bad, then consider freezing them for another day. Soup and chili are good for this since you can freeze them in single portions, giving you several freezer lunches for the future.
Use Cloth Instead of Paper
You can make cloth towels or napkins out of old clothes or blankets and re-use them over and over instead of buying disposable paper products. Make sure that you use cotton, as polyester isn’t absorbent and won’t work very well.
Turn Off the Heat Cycle on Your Dishwasher
We started doing this awhile back and have learned that when it’s finished washing you can open the door right away and the dishes will air dry instead of using expensive electricity.
There are a ton of money-saving apps on the market now, but these two are the ones that I use the most. Ibotta offers cashback offers on items from a ton of stores and fetch allows you to scan your receipts to earn gift cards.
Make Your Own Bread Products
Making your own bread products at home is cheaper, healthier and OUT OF THIS WORLD better than store-bought. Trust me. You want to start doing this. Below are a few of my favorite recipes to get you started.
- Bread Machine Breadsticks
- Cranberry Pecan Bread
- Bread Machine French Bread
- Bread Machine Soft Pretzels
Shop Dollar or Discount Stores
These places often have a lot of good deals that most people tend overlook. Be sure to check size and expiration dates to determine if it’s really a deal or not. See my list of whole foods that you can buy at the dollar store here.
Make Soup with Leftovers
Soup is an amazing budget stretcher that can be done in a multitude of ways. You can go meatless or even make a “kitchen sink soup” with whatever needs to be used up once per week.
What money-saving tip would you add? I’d love to know!
This post was originally published in December of 2016 and has been updated for your convenience.