A lot of food tends to go to waste in our kitchens; when we end up throwing away food or not using it before it is out of date, we may as well be throwing away money. In these budget constraining times this isn’t good for any of us. There are lots of ways to save money in the kitchen. You’ll also be using what you’ve got more efficiently, as well as saving time and effort, with these 10 thrifty food tips.
1. Use Every Part
Before you throw any part of the food away, check to see if you could be using it in a different way. Obviously some parts are the inedible things, but other times it could be useful. For example, when you are peeling potatoes for mashed potato or potato salad, peel the skin off a little more thickly; then you could toss the skins in seasoning and bake them. Potato skins are a tasty snack, as well as containing a lot of nutrients.
2. Save Time at the Store
Thrifty food tips can save you time as well as money. Over the week you have probably been jotting down things you need on to a list for when you visit the supermarket. Once you get there however, you may find you miss things, or have to retrace your steps a few times, because your list was in a random jumble. Take a few minutes before you go to organise your list into categories, according to where the products are in the shop. Those few minutes will save you a lot of time once you get there.
3. Prepare It before Storing
When you buy food like watermelon, which comes in a big wedge or a whole melon, it can often sit in the refrigerator for a long time. Then it ends up going bad before anyone can eat it all. A great way to make it more appealing is to take the time to chop it up into pieces before putting it away. This takes a little extra effort when you first bring the fruit home, but when it is chopped up in a container in the fridge, it will be much easier for people to come by and grab it for a quick snack. It’s much more likely to be eaten this way!
4. Buy on Sale and Freeze
If you see a product on special and it is something that can be easily frozen, then it’s one of the best thrifty food tips to buy in bulk. Bread is perfect for this, especially if you mainly use it for toast. Bread can keep for a long time in the freezer, and it’s something that people go through rapidly.
5. Divide up Bulk Portions
It can save you a lot of money to buy things in bulk, but if you won’t use it all up, divide it into portions before storing. Something like ground beef is perfect for this. It is really affordable in bulk, and you can freeze it in portion sizes to just take out and use one at a time.
6. Make Your Juice Go Further
Juice can be expensive. It is also high in sugar and calories, and is not always healthy if consumed in large quantities. One of the best thrifty food tips for juice that not only makes it healthier, but saves you money, is to stretch what you have. Water the juice down and store in a spare container. 50% water is the best option, but if that is too weak, start with less. You could also try some kinds of herbal teas for different flavour combinations.
7. Stretch Your Meat
Your meat can be made to go further. Meat can be one of the most expensive things on your weekly shopping list, and it can also be high in saturated fat. Ground beef is an affordable option, and if you combine half beef and half beans (eg. kidney beans or pinto beans) then not only will your meat stretch twice as far, it will be a healthier source of protein.
8. Freeze Milk
It is possible to freeze milk, and then defrost it in the fridge. If you or your family does not consume a lot of milk, but you still need to have it around for cooking or for guests, then freeze into smaller containers and defrost them as needed.
9. Roast Goes a Long Way
Sometimes it may seem excessive to buy and cook a roast if you don’t have a large family to feed, but actually a roast can be one of the best thrifty food tips. It can be an economical way of providing meals over a whole week. After you’ve had the roast, the leftovers can be used in all sorts of other meals like stir-fry, soups and casseroles. Freeze these and take them out when you need a quick meal.
10. Bring Lunch from Home
One of the best thrifty food tips that can save a lot of money is to regularly take lunch from home, whether for school or for work. If you find sandwiches boring, however, make sure you have a variety of ingredients. Use leftover meals in your sandwiches, such as roast meat. Add extra flavour to any filling by adding herbs and spices, anything from chilli powder to ginger or garlic. This will make it feel more like a satisfying meal than just another sandwich.
There are many ways to use food, and the time you spend buying and preparing it, much more efficiently. Using a few simple thrifty food tips can help everyone get more out of the kitchen. We’d really love to hear yours.