Frugal kitchen tips – why? For my family, groceries represent the biggest line item on the budget. We spend more on food than housing. Therefore, working to spend less on food is one of the fastest, most effective ways for us to save money. Maybe the same is true for your family.
Welcome to my frugal kitchen!
[Note: This is not my kitchen (but with its airy, clean look, it IS my dream minimalist kitchen!), since my photography skills are horrible, this is a stock photo.]
Come in and sit down on a chair I bought at a discount from IKEA in the scratch-and-dent section (it was neither scratched nor dented, they were just getting rid of all their cafe chairs and replacing them with another style).
Have a look around.
To the left, you’ll see an apron hanging on the wall. This saves my clothing from getting stained while I’m cooking and cleaning.
A glass jar drips-dry (on the stainless steel dish drainer – it cost a bit more than plastic, but will last for many years), reclaimed after its original use as a salsa jar, but now used for storing dry goods in the pantry. On the windowsill, an aloe plant for free first aid for burns and other boo-boos. (This plant is something even I haven’t managed to kill!)
On the sink is dish soap, procured at a 50% discount from Grove, diluted with water, and a parmesan shaker from the dollar store, filled with baking soda for scrubbing pots and the sink.
Next is the blender (which is a blender/food processor combo), used at least twice daily for smoothie making, among other uses. Smoothies being a great way to use up leftover bits of various fruits, dairy products, even vegetables!
Near the blender is my beloved slow cooker, that most useful of frugal kitchen appliances. At the moment, it’s cooking dried beans, which will be frozen in family-size portions for frugal meals.
On to the freezer: it contains a bag of bread crumbs (made from the heels of the bread that nobody likes to eat), a bag of veggie tops and ends (for broth), random leftovers to defrost for easy quick meals, bags of inexpensive frozen vegetables and fruits.
Next to the freezer is the refrigerator – a plastic container inside delineates “use me up quick” items. The fridge is freshly cleaned, not too full, making it easier to find stuff and keep stock of what I have (so I don’t buy too much or let things rot).
Other frugal goodies in the fridge: large containers of plain, sugar-free Greek yogurt (to be sweetened and flavored as desired by the eater), cottage cheese for cheap protein in smoothies, a container of “leftover stew” I threw together while cleaning out the fridge, leftover oatmeal to be reheated for tomorrow’s breakfast, sandwich fixin’s for hubby’s lunches, and a couple of half-eaten apples, courtesy of the 4-year-old, that will go into my apple-cinnamon (or, chili powder) muffins.
Take a step to the right and open the pantry. Inside are 42 pound bulk buckets of black beans, pintos and brown rice, an anniversary gift from my parents. (They do know how I think!)
There are jars of canned tomatoes and other inexpensive pantry items, including rolled oats for breakfast, and cocoa powder for homemade hot chocolate. A bag of sweet potatoes that will form the basis for an expensive meal sit in a drawer. Potatoes, rice and beans are definitely cheap eats.
Hanging on the door is a mop with reusable microfiber heads – no disposable overpriced Swiffers here. This is used for dusting and mopping the hardwood and tile floors (and dusting ceiling fans).
On to the stove, where a stovetop espresso maker sits, waiting for me to make a cappuccino (instead of buying one out). On the counter next to the stove is a silicone spatula/spreader for getting that laaaast bit of batter out of the bowl or the peanut butter or jelly stuck on the jar.
The shelf above has my favorite cookbooks so I can find great recipes and create meal plans every week, with paper and pencils nearby for shopping lists so I never have to go into the store without a list.
There are a lot of things I could do to lower my food spending, including gardening (which I don’t do because I suck at it). Your frugal kitchen tips will look different. What’s in your frugal kitchen?