A Dozen Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen

save money in the kitchenEven when you think you can’t save any more money, annoying bloggers like me pop up with annoying lists like these, as if to say “why, yes you can!” Almost everyone knows about the obvious ways to save money in the kitchen, like using coupons and shopping sales, but there are always more ways to save money on all sorts of things. You might not save big with these tips, but each one can help you save just a little bit more.

And, to throw a couple of cliches into the works, every little bit counts and it all adds up.

So, here’s my big list of little ways to save money in the kitchen.

1. Make your own cleaning products.

We all need cleaning products, and we use them everyday. Making your own cleaning products is one of the best little ways to save money in the kitchen. Homemade cleaners work just as well – if not better – and are a fraction of the cost of commercial cleaners. The savings are actually astounding! For what you would pay for one bottle of all-purpose cleaning solution, you can actually make anywhere from five to ten bottles of homemade cleaner.

2. Stop using scrubbies. 

This one of for anyone who does  dishes by hand or even just scrub a few pots with a scrubbie now and then. Instead of buying scrubbies, just wad up a mesh onion bag and use that. It works just as well, and it’s basically free, since you were going to throw it out anyway.

3. Learn to cut your own meat.

Considering just how much it costs to buy already cut steaks and chicken breasts, it seriously makes me wonder just why people don’t learn to cut meat themselves. This is actually one of the biggest ways to save money in the kitchen. Buy whole chickens and cut them up. Buy an entire pork loin for chops and pork roasts. Buy a huge chunk of beef sirloin and cut your own steaks.

4. Don’t toss old coffee. 

If you find yourself constantly dumping half or a quarter of a pot of old coffee down the drain, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it instead. You can use the coffee cubes to make frozen coffee. Just blend them with a little milk and sugar or ice cream.

5. Fill your refrigerator and freezer.

When it comes to little ways to save money in the kitchen, filling you refrigerator and freezer can save you a decent chunk of change on your energy bills. Keeping this energy hungry monster full, though, can be difficult if you’re living hand to mouth. If you can’t fill them with food, fill them with jugs of water instead. Not only will your appliances be more efficient, but you’ll also have cold water to drink when you want and you’ll delay food spoilage if the power goes out.

6. Reuse bags – all sorts of bags.

No matter how bad they are for the environment, we can’t escape plastic bags, at least not yet. Since I hate throwing them out, I always end up reusing them. I reuse grocery bags, bread bags, and even Ziploc bags sometimes. Just wash, dry, and they’re ready to go another round.

7. Learn to love Garbage Chili.

It’s actually one of our favorite meals. It’s not always Garbage Chili, though. Sometimes it’s garbage Soup, or Garbage Casserole. Save all of your vegetable scraps and leftover meats in separate containers or big resealable bags in the freezer. When your containers are full, toss everything into a pot and cook. Tomato and beef leftovers make Garbage Chili, and other leftovers make Garbage Soup. If you wanna get really fancy, you can add some noodles and BAM! It’s a casserole.

8. Serve spaghetti sauce and noodles separately.

Believe it or not, this is one of the best little ways to save money in the kitchen, at least for us. We almost always have leftover sauce, which gets added to the aforementioned tomato-based scraps in the freezer. The sauce can then be used to make pizzas, more spaghetti, and – of course – Garbage Chili. If we have leftover noodles, those go in a separate bag in the freezer to be resurrected another day.

9. Don’t toss your coffee grounds. 

There are lot of different ways to reuse coffee grounds. Instead of buying expensive skin exfoliators, for instance, just use coffee grounds.

10. Keep your crumbs.

All of those leftover crumbs in the chip bags and even stale bread scraps can be used. Just dump them into a container or resealable bag and store them in the freezer. When you get enough, they can be used to bread chicken or to make a crumb topping for a casserole.

11. Nix the paper towels and napkins.

They’re handy, but expensive. Stop using paper towels and you’ll definitely save money in the kitchen! Use old rags, dish towels, and washable fabric napkins instead. You can buy cheap ones from the dollar store or make your own from old clothes or sheets.

12. Grow your own.

Growing your own vegetables is one of the best ways to save money in the kitchen! The cost of fresh produce is so high, and the cost of a few seeds is next to nothing. Even if you don’t have room for a garden in your yard, you can still grow some things in containers, like pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and green onions. If you have a big harvest at the end of the season, you can always can or freeze the excess for later.

What are your favorite ways to save money in the kitchen?