1. Cash - At the beginning of each month, I'll take out the budgeted amount of grocery money for the month. This money goes into a envelop and is only used for groceries and household supplies. When it's gone, it's gone and I stop shopping. When I first started using cash, it wasn't easy for me to have this mentality. I thought, "$12 over budget, oh well, I'll just use my debit card for the remaining amount. No big deal". Y'all, it is a big deal! A budget is there for a reason and since I've gotten used to it, I've been able to work with the set amount and not over-spend.
2. Meal Plan - This one is huge! If I don't meal plan than our grocery budget goes out the window. Now that I know what works for me, it doesn't take that long to plan out a menu and make a grocery list. (I should do a post on how I meal plan, maybe look for it this week or next and I'll link back to this post.)
3. Less Meat - When looking around money saving blogs, one way that people always mention is to have meatless dinners 2-3 times a week. For some, this works great and others, well, not so much. I tend to fall into the latter category. My husband likes to eat meat at dinner! Since he is the bread-winner of the family and I like to please him, I know that going meatless for dinners on a weekly basis is not that practical for our family. So instead of completely tossing this idea out, I've become creative on how I reduce our meat consumption. Here's my little secret - I never use the amount of meat that a recipe requires. That's it. When I buy a pound of ground beef or turkey, I'll split it up into two 1/2 pound sections of meat. The same goes for chicken. I'll spilt each chicken breast into two sections and wrap two or four pieces together. The meat usually goes right into the freezer and I'll leave out what we'll eat that night. When making a meal that calls for 1 pound of ground beef, I'll only use 1/2 pound. The same goes for chicken, I'll cook enough to shred over everything. I'm not sure how much this saves us each month, but it does help with a lower grocery bill each trip to the store.
4. Drink Water - This one is pretty simple, my family primarily drinks only water. My husband does have the occasional cappuccino in the afternoon and sometimes we'll have smoothies for breakfast but other than this, we are a water only family. We don't drink milk with our meals, neither my husband or I drink coffee, and I never buy soft drinks. I'll buy a little bit of juice to mix in our smoothies when I make them, but that is all the juice I buy and even that isn't on a regular basis. Drinking water only saves us money and our waistline.
5. Cook Homemade - I cook just about everything from scratch. I've made whole wheat bread, muffins, baked goods, dinners, condiments, baby food, hummus, and tons of other things. I even tried my hand at homemade yogurt last week! If I can find a way to do it, than I'll at least try once.
Pinterest is a wonderful resource for this. If you need ideas than check out my pinterest boards.
6. Less Waste - Before going to buy more food, check what you already have in your freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. Eat up your leftovers before cooking more food. Buy something that you haven't used yet? Use it up! Get creative in your kitchen and with your food. Throw less food away.
So, that's about it. 6 different ways that I use on a regular basis that help save me money in my kitchen. What are ways that save you money in yours?