Even if you can’t increase your monthly income, you can probably find ways to decrease your personal and household spending. For many average consumers, the easiest place to begin to save money at home is in the kitchen.
There are lots of things that you can do to cut your kitchen-related expenses. Slashing even a few dollars each month can add up to significant money in a year’s time. Here are ten easy-to-implement ideas:
1) Bake your own bread. This is especially helpful if you have school-aged children who eat a lot of sandwiches in a week’s time.
Consider buying a bread-maker. They cost anywhere from 75 to 200 new, on average. However, you can probably purchase a used one for ten to 50 dollars. (Quality bread- making machines last for years.)
A bread-maker does all the work (mixing, kneading and baking) for you. You just throw in the ingredients and press “start.” A loaf of bread-maker bread costs about 1/150th of a commercial loaf.
2) Bake your own cookies. Home-made cookies do take time, but probably not as much as you think. You can produce a couple dozen in 45-90 minutes at about 1/20th the cost of store-bought cookies.
3) Cook from scratch. Again, this scares people because of the time involved. However, you don’t have to cook complicated meals just to eat from scratch.
Crock-pots are to dinner what bread-makers are to bread. (Buy one; it will be a worthwhile investment that will save you money over the long run.) You can also find hundreds of recipes that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less (start to finish). A scratch-cooked meal can save you anywhere from ten to fifty percent, on average, over a pre-packaged meal, and even more than that over a restaurant dinner. (It’s also healthier!)
4) Drink tap water. Very few households need to rely on expensive bottled water for drinking. Tap water throughout North America is clean, safe, pleasant tasting and free. Even those who pay for city water will still pay less than it costs to buy bottled.
5) Learn how to preserve. Canning and/or freezing your own fruits and vegetables can save you a significant amount of money. How much you’ll save depends on how much you typically eat, your family size, and whether you grow or must purchase your fruits and vegetables. However, a ten percent savings is easily achievable for many average consumers.
6) Buy in bulk. You should purchase as many of your groceries as you can in bulk. This includes everything from meat to toilet paper to cleaning supplies. Bulk buying saves you an average of ten to 25 percent.
7) Make your own lunches. Brown-bagging it to work or school every day rather than eating out can slash your lunch spending by 20 to 50 percent annually.
8) Skip the individual packages. Juice boxes and individually-wrapped snacks are convenient, but cost an average of 50 percent more than buying the same product in a regular or bulk package.
9) Pack your lunch in re-useable containers. Instead of juice boxes, buy reusable beverage containers and fill them from a jug in the refrigerator at home. Skip the plastic sandwich bags and opt for a square plastic container that can be washed and used again and again.
10) Clip coupons. You don’t have to be an “extreme couponer,” spending hours and hours looking for and cutting or printing out coupons. Just keep your eyes open for manufacturer’s coupons on the packages or your favorite products, in-store coupons and local coupons (like those in your newspaper or local circulars).