Holiday Season is almost there now and soon family gatherings, friends and guests will be arriving at the Thanksgiving Feast as well as on Christmas Day. There are reasons to celebrate. No festival or holiday is without any reason. Historic evidence dates back to the year 1623 when Governor William Bradford after the harvest crops in Plymouth, Massachusetts addressed to the gathering,
“All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”
The other reasons are: to be grateful to family, friends, teachers and each person that has a place in our life. I am all excited for the Thanksgiving dinner for my family and friends.
I love to prepare and cook on these occasions and to serve each and every guest at my house with delicious food. But at the same time I need to manage the house expenses looking at little things that cause my wallet to drain out more often. Over expenditure on food sometimes is my cause for concern.
I have heard my granny say this often at the kitchen, “Food should not be cooked to waste, one day partying and another day fasting should not enter this room”. How true she was.
While looking at the annual home budget I find that food expenses need proper budgeting too so as to save the extra spent on food on my other important bills like Electricity bill, phone bills the house tax with other taxes that are primarily important.
According to research in 2013 by Anthropologist from University of Arizona, 29 million tons of edible food is wasted each year. You will be surprised to know that tons of food is wasted on Thanks Giving Day only. As an example we trash about 204 million pounds of turkey on this one day alone. It is therefore very important to use the food wisely and buy sensibly so that our hard earned money is not getting into trash cans. Here you will find 13 ways that you can follow when saving money on food as well as few tips that can help you save in kitchen.
1. Go for Coupons
Using coupons for food products can help you save a buck for sure. I have found the best way to use them combined with a sale. Many grocery stores send you SMS on your mobile about the food coupon and deals that they are going to offer on a particular festival, event or holiday. I have subscribed for these text messages and it makes me easy to choose and know the best possible coupon offer on my choice of food item.
If you have not subscribed for a mobile SMS it is better to look out for on your weekly Sunday newspaper and at your free time go through the grocery ads having coupons displayed and clip these coupons for them to use. It’s also good to know your local supermarket’s coupon policies, as there may be days or times where they’ll double your coupons.
Digital coupons are also huge with supermarkets, with most of them offering a range that can be clicked online and used in-store with a card or your phone number. Lastly, check with coupon sites online for additional coupons you can easily print from home and use when you hit the shops.
Even Casinos offer Coupons for dining, restaurants and other food deals if you are planning to visit a Casino for entertainment and play during the holiday season. You can have Casino bonus offers, Casino games Coupons and Casino coupons for meals. You have to check to their online websites for such offers or find the best casino bonus games coupons at winmenot.com
2. Prepare the Grocery List
Plan out the need of food items at home and then prepare the grocery list. Check your refrigerator and cans for any food leftovers or any grains or products stored and you might have forgotten to use. Check and Compare the prices by going through various grocery ads. Avoid Junk food from the list as this is not necessary and important to buy and can be avoided. Sodas and prepared food are not only expensive but unhealthy too. Stick to your list and don’t buy unnecessary or expensive items. Planning also saves time, cuts stress, and things that stretches your food budget.
3. Buy in Bulk
This is what I do for my home. I go for buying in bulk for a month food I need at home. This means significant savings (as I get a discount for that at the store) as well many items that have offer of “But 1 get 1 free” adds up for my kitchen use. Also it saves frequent trips to the store conserving my time and fuel. Buying in bulk is nearly always your best bet for saving more money on your food budget. Great bulk purchases include pantry items, such as canned goods, pastas and grains–all of which can be used to make a quick, healthy and not to mention easy meals. When buying in bulk, freeze meats, dairy and produce for later use.
4. Look for Price Tags
Watch out for the prices too high or too low when shopping at the grocery stores. Such deals are not good and a waste of money. Prices too low may be of bad quality or will have some additional purchase and prices too high may cost you a good amount of dollars to spend on. Be in between when doing the purchase. As said above compare the price tags on the item’s shelf and see how much per pound, ounce or whatever the item is sold as and look for the best deal.
5. Avoid Eating Out Often
Eating out on a restaurant is feasible once in a month but not always. Also ordering food at home like pizzas too should be within the limits of your budget. If you but are not able to control this habit of eating outside all of a sudden then better to look for restaurant coupons. Also such coupons on food are found sometimes at the back of grocery receipts and junk mail. A lot of restaurants offer “buy 1 meal get 1 free” on certain days of the week. But it is advised to cut back on the number of times you go out in a month or week
6. Shop for Seasonal Produce
Seasonal fruits and produce are cheaper to buy. If you buy unseasonal produce like tomatoes or cabbage out of season it will be four times expensive. You will get these produce all the year round but on season it is cheaper. Check out farmers markets with locally grown produce and bulk up on veggies during their peak. Blanch spring peas, for example, and freeze for later. Get to know your area and its produce at the peak of availability. This will be lot cheaper and adds to your freezer too for long time.
7. Watch for Meat products
We often tend to buy popular super-premium meats. The boneless, skinless chicken breasts, can be replaced by chicken thighs that have more flavor for a quarter of the cost. Or choose a tasty skirt steak priced at a fraction of prime filet. High-cost meats tend to have little or no fat, but fat gives flavour.
8. Do Not Shop Hungry
I have found this many times happening with me. If I go out shopping hungry I want to buy first the thing in sight which looks delicious and fills my hunger. This adds to the grocery bill just because I went hungry to the store.
9. Kids to Take at Grocers or Not
Young kids should be left at home rather than taking them to the grocery shop. They are the ones that will ask you to consider to get them what they like at the store. A little older kids can be handled and let them get something within a set price limit and keep this limit each time you go shopping.
10. Go Vegetarian
Vegetables are cheaper than meat. If you are a meat eater then opt for few days of the month without meat. This will save considerably on your food budget. Also vegetarian is a healthy way to live and easy to save money without any effort. Go for grains such as quinoa, and brown rice, which make for a healthier and more interesting meal. Just compare the cost of a 1-pound bag of rice with a 1-pound steak.
11. Fresh Fruits in Ice Cubes
Fruits are healthier and good to add on deserts, ice creams, yoghurts, in smoothies and cakes. Freeze extra fresh fruit like melons and berries. Cut them into pieces, spread out on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. If bananas are starting to turn brown, peel and freeze them for future smoothies or banana bread. Learn the best ways to freeze various food items maximize your savings, as well as how to prevent freezer burn and food wastage.
12. Learn to Make your Own
I always try to make jams, pickles, sauces, cookies and bread at home. Not only they are fresh and delicious but saves some amount of dollars in a month. Pack them in glass jars. They are healthy to eat and are without any additives and preservatives. Much cost effective.
13. Grow your own Kitchen Garden
It is not a matter whether you live in apartment or in bungalow. Little of spaces can help support your food budget. Try growing a kitchen window box with your favourite herbs, planting a small garden in your backyard, or even just trying out a basic outdoor planter with a few carrots, onions and potatoes. Use the compost with your food waste like veggie peels, egg shells etc.
I just love to have organic garden at my own kitchen garden. I have used pots as well as beds for planting. Starting with the seeds (you can have the seeds from ripe fruits and veggies like seeds of papaya, apple, oranges, cucumbers etc) prepare the compost and water them daily. Soon you will find picking fresh fruits and veggies that you yourself have grown.
Tips to Save at the Kitchen when preparing Meals
- If you are often making chicken stock then have the chicken backs. They have the flavour and are cheaper than other expensive parts.
- Cooking beef requires time and it is better to have cheaper cuts of meat and they’ll always be delicious when cooked slow on heat.
- Stir fry works well. With a teaspoon of oil in a large pan it is good to prepare instant meal with cooked or uncooked meats, vegetables and leftovers at the refrigerator.
- You can freeze your back garden herbs like Basil and Parsley (Plant them in pots or garden) just blend them in a food processor with a little olive oil, put in ice cube trays and freeze. Use the herbs later in sauces or meals for some great aroma.
- Limit food portions by dividing your plate into three equal portions of meat, vegetables and grains 3 to 4 ounces each will be better for you and cost much less.
- Use your leftovers and this will save a tremendous amount of money and time. Check out your refrigerator for leftovers before preparing any meal. You can make wonderful recipes by experimenting on these leftovers. It is your creativity and ideas that is required how to use these.
- Cook the whole vegetable like of carrots and beets. These can be used to make broth, or as flavourful additions to soup. Don’t toss broccoli stalk or kale stems, which make great additions to stir-fries.
- Don’t drain the water used to steam vegetables. Store it in the refrigerator in a glass jar and use as homemade broth at the end of the week or add the stalk for flavour in preparing other meals.
- When you slice crusty bread, crumbs are inevitable. Store them in a freezer bag until you need them to top a casserole or to coat meat or fish. The same goes for crumbs from crackers and chips.
- Make croutons from stale bread. Turn it into croutons by tossing with a little olive oil, dried herbs and salt, then baking at 350 degrees until crispy and golden. When cool, store in an air-tight zipper bag to toss on salads or soup.
- Some food waste is still inevitable no matter how much we plan. Instead of throwing eggshells, coffee grounds and other food waste into the trash, utilize the city’s composting program or start your own backyard compost pile.
— Jessica Bowman (@Jebbica) November 5, 2015