Cooking from Scratch to Save
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Cooking from Scratch to Save

Posted on Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 6:12 am
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Despite rising grocery prices, you can cut down your grocery bill by cooking from scratch.

The idea of cooking from scratch is often intimidating, but considering it can cut your grocery bill in half it is definitely worth a try.

Once you get in the habit of cooking from scratch, the meal planning and execution becomes much easier. Not only is cooking from scratch more affordable than buying pre-packaged foods, it is also healthier. When you buy pre-packaged dishes you almost always pay top dollar per serving. Cooking from scratch, on the other hand, will minimize your cost per serving. If you are just beginning to cook from scratch, you might have a small initial investment to stock your pantry with ingredients but it will pay off in the long run.

Here are some tips for increasing your efficiency and savings when cooking from scratch.

  • Start by investing in a cookbook, or two. Technically, cooking from scratch is not using any boxed or pre-packaged items. So, you will probably need a cookbook to guide your through your scratch cooking endeavors. There are cookbooks for all different tastes and diets, so spend a little time finding one that is right for you. You can also find some great recipes online. Once you have your recipes, it is easy to make your grocery shopping list. Save even more money by using grocery coupons!
  • Plan ahead. Prepare your ingredients when you have time, rather than trying to cram everything in right before you plan to eat. For me, cooking can be relaxing, and even fun, so I will prepare my dishes the night before or over the weekend. By doing this, you will have your ingredients ready to go when you want to cook. Crock pot cooking is also a great option – just throw your ingredients in before you leave in the morning and you will come home to a delicious home cooked meal.
  • Double your recipes. You can double pretty much any recipe and freeze the leftovers. By doing this, you can eat healthy homemade food even when you don’t have time to cook. Tip: When freezing food, make sure to wrap it tightly in a freezer safe bag, pressing all the extra air out. Place it in a second freezer safe bag and repeat. If you are storing an open dish, cover it with plastic wrap and then foil. This will help prevent freezer burn.
  • Stock up on the essentials. To make cooking from scratch as convenient as possible, be sure to have essential ingredients on hand at all times. These include flour, salt, and various spices and seasonings. Keep track of the ingredients you use most when you are cooking from scratch.
  • Make your own bread. Getting in the habit of making your own bread will also save money. Homemade bread is about half the cost of store bought bread and tastes so much better.

 

Cooking from scratch might take some trial and error, but with a little practice you will be eating delicious (and healthy) homemade meals while slashing the total on your grocery bill.

Personally, I find cooking from scratch to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience – I hope you do too!

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.