Food takes up a large portion of the budget, whether you’re single and spending on takeout, or a family who can barely get their groceries without giving up half their income. There are a lot of easy ways to cut the cooking costs, and this article is going to overview five of them.
- Use appropriate portion sizes
If you’re finding your bill a little more inflated than usual, pay attention to the portion sizes you’re taking. A fast way to waste cash is to take more food than you actually want or need, so mind the portion sizes and watch your bill slim down.
- Stay stocked
Know what the staples are that you need to pull together a meal quickly. This will save by avoiding the dreaded impulsive “let’s just eat out” cries that come from feeling like there’s “nothing in the fridge”. By keeping a good stock of basic food staples, you’ll save a tonne on eating out charges.
- Store leftovers
Whether you’re cooking for one or cooking for six, there will be leftovers from time to time. Be sure to properly store and keep these leftovers for future meals. One chicken can easily stretch from a breast dinner to a stir fry side, and beyond. This can also save time, as you won’t have to cook when you only need to heat up leftovers.
Big families can take particular advantage of this by bagging individual leftovers. You can have a ready made meal for one just by bagging some leftovers that may otherwise have gone to the trash.
- Keep your fridge organized
This may sound like more of a cleaning tip than a financial tip, but by keeping the fridge organised it will be easier to track when foods expire. Wasting fridge food is a fast track to wasting cash, and there’s no easier way to save money than by avoiding that waste.
Regularly move foods that are close to expiring to the front of the fridge, to encourage their quick use. Keep track of leftovers, they can often be used on their own or combined to make an even more delicious meal the next day. Finally, be aware that not all ‘expiration dates’ are truly expirations, some indicate that while the food will be best at that date…it will still be good afterwards. All of these savings comes back to how the fridge is set up.
The easiest way to do this without spending endless hours on the task is to organize the fridge as soon as you come home with groceries. If you know you aren’t making that burger for a week, put it in the freezer instead of the fridge.
- Plan ahead
This cannot be emphasized enough, the best way to save money is to plan ahead. Making a meal plan can help you to avoid unnecessary grocery store purchases, can let you know what to throw into the freezer rather than the fridge, and all in all avoids waste.
And it doesn’t have to be dull either. Get the family together to decide the meals they want for the week, and shuffle them around on a plan board. You’ll have a lot less stress and a lot less waste – and your pocketbook will thank you for it!