Are you tired of drive through? Tapped out from the holidays? Trying to squirrel money away for a vacation? Making ends meet on one income? There is nothing like cooking for yourself to save money on groceries. The more you know how to cook, the more you benefit from sales and seasonal abundance. Having an inventory of recipes means you can take advantage of that winter squash they’re unloading.
What about that cut of meat no one else knows what to do with? Your grandmother, mother-in-law, or neighbor is dying to tell you how to cook a pork loin or a flank steak. Once you’ve got skills, you could make your old Nikes palatable if you had to.
Embrace Your Crock-Pot
I hear slow cooking is making a comeback. My crock-pot never left. Many inexpensive cuts of meat are wonderful when slow cooked all day. Hearty stews are cheap and easy to put together. Using a crock-pot is a double money saver because knowing you have a hot meal waiting at home is the best reason to forego a loud (and over time, expensive) family restaurant. Plus, it’s fun to say crock-pot.
If you want to save even more money, go vegetarian for a night or two. You can make amazing chili and other vegetarian dishes with so much flavor, no one will miss the meat.
Love Your Leftovers
Make a pot of spaghetti sauce, then eat it for a few days. Planning helps beat the monotony. Have spaghetti one night, chicken parmesan the next, and homemade pizza the night after that. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Once you have a written plan, things come together quickly. Any leftover cooked meat is transformed from ug, to a zesty burrito filling when cut into very small bits and livened up with of a packet of taco seasoning. Again, the sneakers would even make a tasty chimichanga.
Use Your Freezer
Make double recipes and freeze half. If you find yourself with too much of anything, freeze the excess in individual portions and voila – homemade frozen dinners. These are perfect for the kid who misses dinner because of late football practice, or even to feed the whole family when you don’t want to cook.
Cooking helps you stay away from processed foods, which are hard on your budget and your health. While cooking takes extra time, that is sometimes what we have when we’re short on cash. Find a friend who’s committed to decreasing the grocery bill and help each other find recipes and write menus. Better yet, cook double portions and share the results.
It’s not difficult to save money at the grocery store, but it takes good habits and dedication. If you invest a little time and creative thinking, you will see results.