Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen

by Kelly · 14 comments

in A Frugal Home,Series

This is the first in a five part series entitled ‘Your Frugal House: Five Ways to Save Money in the…’. We will be looking at five different areas of the house and at five different ways to save money in each area. With all sorts of prices on the rise, and the need to make your money stretch even further than before, frugality is more important then ever. Stay tuned throughout the week for the other installments, or better yet, subscribed!

1. Grow your own vegetables

This may seem easier said than done: you might not think that you have the time to garden, or the space, or the necessary color of thumb (in French, your whole hand is green, not just your thumb). But really, growing your own food is a great way to have high quality food for less. If the above reasons for not gardening really aren’t excuses, then try thinking outside the (square foot gardening) box. Maybe you could join a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm or barter with a friend for some of their pickings. For example, I have room for a compost pile, but no time to garden. I trade some of the compost for some of my kids’ nanny’s vegetables; if you ask me I’m getting the better end of the bargain!

Here are some bloggers who garden:

2. Menu plan

Simple Mom plans a weekly menu, then a second weekly menu. Next she repeats each menu; each meal is served twice in the month- two weeks apart. Finally, she shops from her menu. I do the opposite, I go grocery shopping first, and then menu plan from my staples. Both systems can work to save you money, the important thing is to find a system that works for you and use it.

If there is a particular meal that your family really enjoys, don’t be afraid to make it often. If you get tired of it, try variations on a theme: chicken noodle soup, chicken rice soup, vegetable stew, you get the picture.

3. Take advantage of good deals and stockpile

The first way to be able to take advantage of a good deal is to know if it’s a good deal. Of course you can keep a price book, with different prices at different stores, but that can quickly become cumbersome and difficult to remember, both the prices and to take the book with you when shopping. Paid Twice has solved the price book dilemma with the ‘buy it now’ prices, a price at or below which you should stock up.

Another important component to saving money in the kitchen is to stockpile food. Not only is this useful in the natural disaster sense of an emergency, it’s also useful in the budget sort of emergency, or the ‘my child just told me he’s responsible for snacks at school tomorrow and it’s too late to go to the grocery store’ emergency.

4. Buy Generic

Generic does not have to mean poor quality. In fact, many times the store brand is the same product as the name brand. The only difference is in the price. I buy very few name brands anymore; the few I do buy are for things like shampoo or the occasional treat of really good coffee. Not sure what generic food or products you’ll actually be able to tolerate? Try The Simple Dollar’s method of separating the wheat from the chaff.

5. Learn to cook

Really, there’s no excuse for not knowing how to cook. Not enjoying it is a different matter, but with the plethora of good food and cooking sites out there, everyone should be able to execute at least a few basic recipes. Processed foods or take-out from fast food restaurants are not frugal ways to eat, not to mention that they aren’t particularly good for you! If you’re looking for a place to start, some easy recipes to master are things like pasta with veggies, roast chicken, salads, or a simple casserole.

Have another frugal way to save money in the kitchen to add? Let us know in your comments! And remember to stay tuned (or subscribed) for the rest of the week for the other four installments in the series.


1 Toblerone @ Simple Mom August 18, 2008

Great series! I love this idea, so I look forward to your other articles.

I don’t garden because of time and space (and because I have a black thumb), but I buy most of our food supply from the farmer’s market, which is very cheap where I live.

I’d say I do all the others pretty well, except for stockpiling. The concept of sales, coupons, and loss leaders just doesn’t exist in this country. It’s one of the things I really miss about the States. Things are pretty much priced the same year-round.

Thanks for the link!

Toblerone @ Simple Mom’s last blog post..11 Cheap (and free!) Toys for Young Children

2 Karen August 18, 2008

I can’t wait to read the rest of this series! I spend a lot of money on produce, and I would LOVE to garden, but unfortunately I live in an apartment. I tried to grow herbs on my balcony, but there’s just not enough sunlight back there. Even my impatiens didn’t make it. 🙁 Oh well, I’ll just have to wait until we move.

3 Frugal Dad August 18, 2008

Great topic for a series! And thanks for mentioning my square foot garden. We’re going all out next spring with an even larger garden with more square foot boxes for raised beds.

Frugal Dad’s last blog post..Rolex Versus Timex: How Valuable is Your Time

4 shiny August 18, 2008

wow, great post, I'm really looking forward to the rest of your updates! X

shiny's last blog post..Shiny's Big Bad Debt Tally Version 2.0

5 Judy August 18, 2008

We did our first garden this year – it was incredibly easy and also fun for the kids. We’ve gotten LOADS of veggies from it this year…corn, beans, okra, cucumber, tomatoes, etc. We found what grew well in our area by calling our local ag extension office and the things they told us would be easy for our area have really done well this year! We’re getting ready to do our fall garden in a month or so – I can hardly wait!

Judy’s last blog post..Yet ANOTHER Meme!

6 Lucie August 18, 2008

Great post!

Like Simple Mom, I use the farmers markets in lieu of growing fresh veggies myself. I also think for those of us with little ones making your own baby food can really help.

Our kids are fine eating generic food, with the exception of cereal. Finally we realized we could just slip the bags from generic cereal into the name brand boxes, and we haven't heard a word of complaint sense.

Lucie's last blog post..Out of the Bed and Into the Crib – Adventures in Sleeping

7 Dana August 18, 2008

I'm really looking forward to this series!!

Along the side of menu planning – I enjoy buying a whole chicken then using it for 3 different meals. Last week: day 1 – baked chicken, day 2 – chicken enchiladas, day 3 – chicken noodle soup. cost of chicken about $3.50

Dana's last blog post..Party at my place!

8 Uncommonadvice August 18, 2008

Fantastic advice – we can all learn from our Granny’s on this subject.

Uncommonadvice’s last blog post..Increase the chances of your property selling by 100%

9 Michelle August 18, 2008

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

Michelle’s last blog post..I Heart Coffee

10 Budget Mama August 18, 2008

Great post. Ever since I started menu planning, I have saved a ton of money.

11 Meegan August 19, 2008

Awesome post! Can’t wait to read (and put into practice!) some of the things I don’t already do from your series.

Bring on Part 2 :o)

12 My Daily Dollars August 20, 2008

Excellent series! You’re tips are right on. I know that following them has certainly made our kitchen more frugal.

My Daily Dollars’s last blog post..The Beauty of Savings

13 Andy @ Retire at 40 February 27, 2009

I menu plan but not in a paper and pen way. I end up going and buying what I need for a whole meal and making 4 to 6 portions of it. Then I freeze single portions of what’s left. That way I get good value for money and I don’t have to cook as much on other days (usually heated up with a staple is enough for me).

Andy @ Retire at 40´s last blog post..Personal Finance is Not a Destination, it’s a Journey

14 Randa @ The Bewitchin' Kitchen January 29, 2010

I agree 100% with menu planning! It has saved us so much money on our grocery bill. For what used to be 250 every time I went to the grocery store (and then there was so much waste) I spend now an average of 90-150, depending on the meals! It’s great
.-= Randa @ The Bewitchin’ Kitchen´s last blog ..Weight Loss Wednesday =-.

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