Being frugal in the kitchen doesn’t mean bland, boring food. In fact, by eating seasonally and using some of these tips, not only will you and your family be eating well, but also saving money in the process. The key is to look to your interests and go from there. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Eating seasonally is far healthier and more cost effective than eating out of season. For example, consider asparagus. When it is growing locally, you can find good deals at the farmers markets around town. It is fresher, vitamins are intact, you are helping support a local farmer and the asparagus has not been in transport for several days. You can also purchase fresh asparagus in grocery stores in January. This asparagus has been picked (usually in a foreign country) and travels quite a distance before ending up at the grocery store. Chances are it will not be as tasty or vibrant as in season asparagus.
When a particular food is in season, stock up and freeze, dehydrate or can the surplus. Back to the asparagus example, buy extra and put in there freezer. Then come January when you are thinking how good cream of asparagus soup would be, just open the freezer door and start cooking!
DIY instead of buying pre made food. A bunch of fresh kale, turned into delicious crunchy kale chips costs pennies per batch and a few minutes of your time to make. Compared to ready made kale chips, this is a huge bargain.
Plan a use for leftovers besides letting them turn bad in the refrigerator. Leftover vegetables can be transformed into healthy soups, along with some leftover chicken. Planning ahead can mean setting aside a portion of the cooked chicken for another meal before serving it. Just think, you already have a jump on tomorrow’s dinner!
Grow vegetables and fruits. This can be in a traditional garden in your yard, in containers on your apartment’s deck or patio, or at one of the many community garden plots around town. Even a pot of basil on your kitchen windowsill can brighten up a spaghetti dinner.
A pick your own apple orchard or strawberry farm can yield delicious food gathered while having fun. Some farms offer wagon rides, petting zoos and tours. Freeze some of the extra, and if looking for holiday gift ideas, everyone loves home made strawberry jam, tomato salsa and applesauce.
While out and about running errands or while heading to work, bring along cool, refreshing water in a reusable water bottle. This cuts down on purchasing bottled water throughout the day and keeps the throw away plastic bottles out of the landfills. Drinking more water is a healthy approach, and saving money while doing it is another plus.
Try store brands. Most of the time they taste as good or even better than the highly advertised options.
If planning a day trip, pack snacks like home made granola bars, popcorn and plenty of water to refill your reusable water bottle. Not only is this far healthier than stopping for fast food, in nice weather you can plan to stop at a local park for an impromptu picnic.