We all toil hard to earn pennies primarily to keep ourselves alive. With the money we earn we spend on food. With ever rising prices of groceries, it’s good to know a few tips and remind ourselves of the pointers on how to save money in the kitchen. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned. So here goes my post today about “Kitchen and savings – Tips to save money in kitchen”
1. Save fuel, save energy, save money:
With the steep rise in price of LPG, it’s a good idea that we start finding other sources of energies to cook our food. We can use electric cookers, microwave ovens, induction cook tops which uses electric energy to cook food. Apart from that, we can choose smart utensils and easy and fast recipes to cook food. For everyday meals, I prefer using my pressure cooker. Be it chicken, dal, vegetables, soup…. I find it very easy, fast and economical to cook in pressure cookers. You can find a few everyday pressure cooked dish ideas in the link -> Pressure cooked recipes. While in a kadai, chicken curry takes somewhat 45 minutes to get cooked, a pressure cooked recipe takes just 15 – 20 minutes. Thus, you save hugely on LPG. If you use the correct amount of water and have a good idea of the timings and whistles required, you can cook as tasty meals as you cook in a kadai. Also for making teas or boiling water or milk, induction cook tops are a blessing
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2. Grocery shopping:
A lot of times, we go to the market for Grocery shopping and return back with stuff that we don’t need at all. Temptations through packaging, buy 2 get 1 offers really often tricks to indulge customers to make purchases that they don’t require. Over the years, I applied lean on my Grocery shopping list. The pointers that help me a lot on saving money on groceries are:
- Always go with a proper Grocery list. I check my pantry area and make a list of what I need to buy. I note the right quantity needed for my family for the month and just stick to it. For fun and breaking monotony, I do keep changing brands. But end of the shopping, it’s just the right amount of products and the right stuff, that makes entry to my pantry!
- Never go to the stores empty stomach and do carry a water bottle with you
- Try not to accompany with your child and spouse as you are bound to deviate. Though in my case, I do take my child everywhere I go. But when she demands things after things, I just stick to one to keep her happy. If she chooses another, I ask whether she wants the previous item or not
- If you want to stick to a tight budget, just go for essentials only. If on a slight flexible budget, do make a list of your wants and give yourself an allowance. For example, I went to the store last month. For long I have been wanting a small wok for deep frying purpose. And not the non-stick ones. So the store announced, if you buy over than a certain limit, you can get those cute looking woks in only INR 99. There was no looking back and with my allowance I purchased it and returned happily to home. Had it not been on that offer, I would not have purchased it as it was a want and also not on my list for that month!
- Always compare prices. Often a particular store offers a product at lesser price than the other stores. I keep a tab on this factor. For example, I do find the in-house brand of this store keeps good quality pastas, soy beans at cheaper prices than other established brands. I do go for the in-house products. It’s often that the qualities are the same, but the extra amount we spend towards a brand is mostly to cover up their advertising costs
- Limit your trips to the shop. I prefer to shop once a month for items like, dal, tea, oil, oats, rice, spices etc. For perishable items, like vegetables, meat, eggs I go to shop once week. For milk, I procure it daily
- Always carry cloth bags, jute bags for shopping. Else you might pay extra for the plastic bags they provide. And you loose a great amount of money over the time
3. Buying in bulks:
- Never buy perishable items in bulk. Always, check for the storage space available for so in refrigerator and then decide
- For lentils, tea, pastas, noodles, cooking oil etc you can stock on based on your actual needs, pantry space available and expiry dates of products
- I like getting my spices fresh. Over the time, they may not get stale but due to improper storage and handling, they might loose their flavour. I don’t prefer getting them on bulks
4. Learn cooking:
Cooking is an art and by investing time in learning the art you can save on thousands each month. The cost of having lunch or dinner one time for a family lies around INR 800 – Rs 1000 in big cities. So, just by cooking your own meals, you can always save money and protect your health, thus saving thousands more on medicines and doctor visits. There’s a lot of simple, easy, quick recipes in this site. Please do check them out. Also remember, cooking with your family should make the process all the more enjoyable and easier. Do engage your children in lighter activities like whisking, cleaning vegetables, dressing. Do count your spouse as an alternative cook in the home for a few days in a month. So that you get a break as well!
5. Invest in good quality utensils:
Good quality and heavy gauge stainless steel utensils are a better choice for cooking utensils rather than using non-stick cookwares in the long run. Iron utensils are the best choice but handling them is quite difficult owing to it’s weight and the amount of care it needs. The iron utensils act as non-stick pans with proper seasoning. Non-stick pans get corroded in due course of time with washing and cooking. Thus develop scratches on the surface and release toxic substance while cooking causing us illness. Hence they need to be replaced frequently which incurs a lot of monetary waste. Stainless steel utensils on the other hand, are pocket friendly, easy to handle, are long lasting as well.
6. Save on Cleaning stocks:
One must keep the kitchen clean always. A methodical overall cleaning of surfaces, counter top, utensils and appliances save money in the long run. For cleaning dishes I prefer using a proper scrub and a dish wash bar. Liquid detergents are often not too effective specially in case of heavily soiled utensils and are expensive as well. Also one do not need to use expensive cleansers daily for cleaning the kitchen. Thrice a week usage of proper disinfectants are all okay. Also one can easily make some DIY cleansers at home with simple ingredients like lemon juice, water, baking soda and vinegar. These cleansers are of course natural and save tons of money annually.
7. Keep your kitchen pest free:
Keeping your kitchen pest free is of course sensible. Always, check on your kitchen stocks such as lentils, rice, atta, dry red chillies. Put them on sunlight regularly. Make sure you finish off the items before the expiry date is over. Also keep the kitchen shelves, refrigerators clean so that cockroaches and rats do not breed inside and eat up your stock. Use cockroach killing gels, sprays safely and on a regular basis to ensure a pest free kitchen.
So these are a few tips I enlisted to save money in your kitchen ( Kitchen and savings – Tips to save money in kitchen). You can also share your tips and hacks to save money in your kitchen! Do write in the comments section below.
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