Thursday, August 18

Shareworthy: My top ten frugal kitchen and cooking tips

Not many people have 'spare money' lying around and no matter what your budget is some quick frugal things to keep in mind when stocking and using your kitchen could save you potentially thousands of dollars a year.   You don't need to do all of them, but think about the ones you could do in your life and let me know if you have any others - hope it's helpful to you!

1.  Milk:
  • Buy a carton of UHT milk, just to keep in the cupboard - because no one wants to pay $5 for a litre of milk at the service station.
  • I always keep powdered milk in the pantry - I use it for pancakes, milkshakes and custards - anything that needs a lot of milk - much more economical and you can't taste the difference.
Here's some interesting Australian info on the different types of milk (fresh full, skim, condensed, evaporated and powdered)

2.  Meat:
Buy direct where you can.  Search out local and even within an hours drive an abbatoir.  If you can't store a side of lamb, get a bunch of friends to go in with - divide it up and take turns in the travel.   My meat costs are almost half the supermarket and less than half my local butcher.   I do love having a separate freezer to store a months worth of meat.... if you have room and have a family I think it's a worthy investment.

3.  Forget the Packet Mix
You know you probably have all the ingredients anyways?  Many people buy taco seasoning but don't realise they have ingredients on hand.  Same goes with devilled sausages.  Did you know gravy mix is basically stock powder and cornflour?  Do a bit of research on the packet mixes in your pantry.  What's really in them?  Do an internet search... maybe you can replicate it easily?    
How cool is this? I want 10 of them!

4.  Bake for school....
Truly 30 minutes a week can have you in school treats for a week.   Why would you buy muffins from the supermarket?  Yours will taste better and have half the amount of sugar in them anyways!

5.  Whilst I'm on school snacks..
Some other ideas on how to get bang for buck:
  • A few crackers with a wedge of laughing cow cheese, PLUS a few cherry tomatoes = 60c - prepackaged le-snak = 80c.
  • Buy a large tin of two fruits, freeze in tupperware containers for hot days - you can get 6 out of a large tin at less than 50c a portion, as opposed to 1.20 a portion if you buy pre-packaged
  • Some goes for yoghurt! ....
Also buy a lunchbox with compartments where you don't need to use wrap! Huge money saver - we use the Boxy Designs lunchboxes - they have stood up to Eloise's tough handling of lunchboxes - she's killed nudie and tupperware ones...

6.  Get smart with yoghurt
Make your own yoghurt -even if it's the cheaty way - using Easiyo you can make a good quality yoghurt for about $3 a litre.  Don't buy individual yoghurts unless you have to!  Buy your favourite brand if you can't replicate it (some of my favourites I can't!) and divvy them up into pots in the fridge.

Don't let yoghurt go to waste!  If it's about to go out of date, freeze it in icecubes and use it in your smoothies or use iceblock moulds to make 'icecreams'.  The other thing I do is bake with yoghurt too - these muffins are a favourite way to use yoghurt!

7.  Eggs
Buy smaller eggs if you using for baking - they cost less and do the same job!  (Please use free-range though!)

8.   Buy in Season
This is a no-brainer.  Buying in season fruit and vegetables from Australia not only supports our farmers but the prices are better and the quality is much better!   Take advantage of good prices on fruit to make jam, make pickles with vegetables.  Make soups and stocks!  Blanch vegetables you may have a lot of and freeze too - have your own stock of frozen vegetables.  Get Season Savvy people!

9.  Farmgate shopping. 
Check out where there are farmgates around you - going direct to a farm and even picking yourself can save a lot of money,  most of the time more than farmers markets.   Do a google search on 'fruit picking near your nearest large town' and  you may be surprised!  Even honey farms sell their honey at a fraction off the price!

10.  Meal plan!!
You need to meal plan if you seriously want to save money!  Saves wastage, saves time, saves frustration.  Here's my tips on how to meal plan and also how to shop to your meal plan!

So, tell me - how do you save money in the kitchen?   Share with your friends and find out how they save money in the kitchen!

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14 lovely comments:

Katy on August 18, 2011 at 7:44 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Brilliant tips - I can imagine they haven't occurred to some people!! The amount of people I see packing their kids lunchboxes FULL of packets of EVERYTHING just leaves me astounded. I get the odd bit here and there, but the crap some of it is!

Also did a bulk meat shop yesterday for $220 that will stock our freezer for a good 3 months. The last one was in March and we've only just run out!

Definitely making use of what you already have and not letting it go to waste is a biggy - the $ and amount of food we can throw away is astounding - we wouldn't throw $5 in the bin, so why throw out half an unused celery (freeze it), dodgy fruit (baking) etc?! Definitely using everything up.

Super Sarah on August 18, 2011 at 7:50 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great tips Liss, I agree wholeheartedly with the meal plan tip. I have saved so much money since planning my menu and only buying exactly what I need to make my week's meals.

My tip... cook in bulk. I make a massive batch of beef mince (4kgs at a time!) with a basic spag bol sauce and then freeze in portions for a variety of meals. We are less likely to waste food or buy takeaway if I have something in the freezer that I can defrost quickly for a tasty meal like tacos or baked enchiladas!

Alicia said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

On the easiyo, you can actually do it for less if you don't buy the sachet. I used 1 and 1/3 cups of milk powder, 1/3 cup sugar then mix with half the container of water. Then add 3 tablespoons of yoghurt (from my previous batch) and 2 teaspoons vanilla essence. Then mix as per easiyo directions. You could leave out the vanilla and put less sugar if you wanted to mix fruit puree in. So cheap!

Caz (The Truth About Mummy) on August 18, 2011 at 9:30 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great tips! Thanks for the one about the lunch boxes - I have the same problem. My big girl has gone thru 2 nude lunch boxes already. Shall check these ones out :) Nicew work.

Becci on August 18, 2011 at 9:37 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great post, I need to do all of these but am starting to do some of them as I hate paying huge prices for individual lunch snacks. I will share these tips with every mum I know. Thanks Liss!

MyFiveMinutes! on August 18, 2011 at 10:44 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Love it! I'm Inspired and challenged. Thanks

Leimay on August 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Fantastic... it wasn't until 2 nights ago i realised i have been using your taco seasoning for so many meal bases (taco, con carne, nacho's etc) i try to have a batch on hand in the cupboard ready to go and the kids prefer it to the store bought one.

I really need to source a decent meat supply place in my area as we eat so much of it and it costs an absolute fortune! I have a spare freezer but might have to chat to some friends and see if we can't buy in bulk and save even more. Thanks for the fantastic hints

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I love being reminded of some time and money saving ideas! Thanks :)

Jo S on August 18, 2011 at 7:17 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

We grow our own fresh herbs and vegetables.
We've got cabbages, brocolli, salad greens at the moment. Once spring has sprung a little more, we will put in potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.
Buy them as seeds and plant just a little earlier and save heaps compared to buying seedlings. We tend to buy heirloom varieties and even keep the seeds from a couple of tomatoes.

jody on August 18, 2011 at 8:29 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

All fantastic ideas, thank you!

Ellie on August 19, 2011 at 8:37 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great tips.

I have to know is that sign for honeycomb cream or honeycomb and cream. If it is the former I drooly drooly want some.

I buy at the farm gate a lot which is a huge saving and I buy my eggs farm fresh from a friend for $3 (can you believe it, he only wanted $2 but I felt like a thief).

We also have our own vegie garden not only does it save $$ it really does encourage the kids to eat their vegies. If they are hungry I say go out to the garden and they have a feast on sugar snaps or snow peas for half an hour.

MyFiveMinutes! on August 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Just got home from checking out some of your farmgate reccomendations like Riverview Fruit & Veg. FANTASTIC! great quality, love that you can see the produce still on the farm, the people and the prices. Thank you for the tip - made my day :)

Teegan on August 19, 2011 at 8:14 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I got really excited when I saw this post as I feel like I could be a bit more frugal in the kitchen. However, after reading all your tips I was very proud of myself as I do most of them already. My mum must have done a great job of teaching me in this area! I do think I could be a bit more season savvy though and I haven't got back into meal planning since moving towns a few months ago. Thank you for reminding me I need to do these things.

Michelle on September 11, 2011 at 5:31 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great ideas! Not a lot of people think about ways to save in the kitchen. Also, so many people go the easy route and pack tons of processed foods in their families lunches.


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