Saturday, 4 October 2008

Saving Money in the Kitchen

You spend $200 on the week's groceries, pay $100 in electricity bills, and spend another $80 on gas. Over the year, it adds up to thousands of dollars spent on food and food preparation. Surely there must be a way to cut back-but few people know how to go about it. How do you minimize food spending without going hungry or sacrificing meal quality? it's easier than you think-here are some tips to help you get started.

Plan, plan, plan. It may sound clich├ęd, but planning is the key to a well-run kitchen. Set aside 30 minutes to one hour every week to write a weekly menu and make a shopping list. That way, you can avoid or at least control impulse buys at the grocery. Let your kids take part in the planning so they'll still enjoy the meals.

Cut down on meat. Meat costs more to grow, transport and cook than vegetables. You don't have to go vegan today, but you can try replacing one meat dish a day with a vegetarian one. It won't only save you money, it's also a great way to control your weight and improve your health.

Use those leftovers. If you're throwing out half your dinner every night, you're throwing away hundreds of dollars a year. Use leftover meats and veggies to prepare sandwiches, salads, or side dishes the following day. Better yet, watch everyone's serving portions and avoid wastage by cooking just enough for everyone.

Try crock pot cooking. Crock pots allow you to use cheaper meat cuts, so you can slash down your grocery expenses. They also use up less power-even if they run on electricity, the low, constant temperature makes a minimum impact on your electricity bill. You can use crock pots to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert.

Look for sale items. It's common knowledge that most foods on sale are nearing their expiry dates. But that shouldn't be a problem if they're not staying more than two days in the fridge. Look around for still-usable ingredients that you can get on sale-it can save you up to $50 in one trip.

Simon Burke loves to cook delicious and nutritious meals for his family. And luckily for us he also enjoys sharing his cooking experiences and recipes with the rest of us. For more information on budget cooking, click here.

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