Saving Money in the Kitchen

I’m sure we are not the only family out there that is feeling the sting of the raising food prices. When we made the decision a little over a year ago for me to become a stay at home mom we did so by looking at our expenses vs. our income. Well, sitting here at my computer a year later looking at our budget I have to say that our expenses are going up faster then our income. What is a mom to do?

Well, this mom is putting on her creative thinking cap. Here are some things that I’ve done to help us stretch our food budget.

Buy a deep freeze- So this first one might make you scratch your head. Our deep freezer has been our best investment. You can go two routes to keep the cost down. First, you could buy a used one. They usually go cheap. We just sold an old one for $50 and it was the biggest one they make. Or you can buy a new one that is small. We use a small one and it takes up very little space but holds a ton. It also costs very little to run and allows us to stock up when things are on sale.

Buy local fruits and veggies- If you are blessed with local orchards and “food” farms, then take advantage! By buying directly from the farmer you can save some on the mark-up cost. Before you go to the farm call around to all of them and find out who has the best prices. Some farms will save you a few pennies others will save you almost half the cost. While you are there ask if they sell seconds. Those who do will not advertise it but will sell them to you. Those are by far the best deals! Who cares of the apples have flawed skins if you are going to be making apple sauce out of it?

Buy bulk- Take advantage of bulk discounts. Find a true bulk food store and really compare prices closely to make sure you are saving by doing this. I actually drive a little over an hour to a bulk food store in an Amish community. There I save well more then what I spend in gas. And while I’m there in the summer I’ll swing by some of the roadside stands and pick up fresh veggies (like 50cents per pound of green beans). I only make this trip once every two months and buy enough for the two months. This does take some planning but in the end it really pays off.

Nothing goes to waste- Get creative! I had froze some peaches last fall and when I went to thaw them they were not firm. To slimy for my kids but tasted great. What to do? Make peach sherbet! I just pureed 2 thawed quart bags of peaches with 2 cups of sugar and then poured it into the ice cream maker. Just 45 minutes later we had a great dessert to share with family and friends.

Grow a garden- While the kids play outside get your hands dirty by growing a your own food. You will feel better from the exercise and sunshine and your budget stays in check.

Food preservation- Found that great deal on apples at a local orchard? Buy 5 bushels. Think I’m kidding? Oh no, I put up 5 bushels last fall and we just ran out. I make apple sauce, apple pie filling, and apple butter. We go through at least a quart a week of apple sauce so this really helped our budget.

There are lots of sites on line that talk about doing things to save money in the kitchen but I find most of them impractical with a little one at my side and another one on the hip. I hope that you have found mine to be both practical and wallet friendly.

Do you have some other practical kitchen advice? I’d love to hear it!


Jodi Davis said...

This are great ideas! I have also learned to save a TON of money by not buying processed foods and cooking from scratch. My husband and I were just talking last night, when we got married (4 years ago) I couldn't boil an egg. Now I have a huge range of different homemade foods. It's amazing what you can do when you research it and are open to new ideas! Thanks for sharing!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

I really wish I had the time to put up applesauce. We really do go through so much of it! I could use an easy peasy method.


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