We all have some good habits and some bad habits. The bad habits are like an addiction, we know they are bad for us, but we still can’t get rid of them. Our bad habits are damaging to our health and wallet too. When it comes to managing expenses, the first thing that comes to mind is unnecessary spending on food. Unconsciously we all slip into some lousy kitchen habits that cost us a significant amount of money. You can enjoy life to the fullest by just cutting some bad kitchen habits because it is often food that we spend the most money on after our household bills.
Stop these kitchen habits to save money
According to Forbes, ordering food costs as much as five times more than making the same meal at home. You don’t have to go very strict on yourself and give up on all the things you like to eat; after all, food makes us joyful and lightened. You just have to make some smart and wise choices or food swaps instead, such as making your own ’fakeaway’ rather than ordering in.
Why not follow some easy rules and save money instead of going broke by the end of every month? Here is a list of the five most common kitchen habits that cost us unnecessary money.
Take-outs and eating out
We all love to indulge in a takeaway every now and then. At the end of a hectic workday or busy week, nobody wants to cook or have more mess to clean up. Ordering a pizza or picking up some takeout is a very easy way to go and slowly, we slip into this habit of ordering food more than once a week. Or we go out for dinner to save making any mess at home at all and to have the luxury of being waited on. We might also grab a coffee on the way to work every morning instead of spending a few minutes to make and take our own. Doing all of this regularly costs you way more than you think and eating takeout often is unhealthy too.
Try and develop a habit of cooking at home. This goes for everything from full meals to pit stops at the local coffee shops. Prepare lunch to take to work and a hot drink. You’ll save a small fortune! Make a weekly dinner chart that will help you organize your fridge and prepare for dinner ahead of time. This way, you won’t be staring at your fridge and thinking about what to cook and end up ordering food. You don’t have to make a fancy dinner every night if you don’t like cooking; just start with some basic easy recipes and with time you will fall into the habit of cooking.
Cook in bulk so you can save some in the fridge to heat up for dinner the next night. That way you get a night off cooking! If you love takeaway food then make your own at home instead, say once a week as a treat on a Friday or Saturday night. It will often be cheaper and healthier to make your own Chinese meal or homemade pizzas. Even a frozen pizza will be a fraction of the cost compared to ordering one.
Pre-prepared foods are those that are ready chopped, pureed or grated, for example. They save us time in the kitchen, but this comes at a premium. Saving money in the kitchen is not just about what you buy; it is more about how you buy it. Buying already chopped vegetables is very costly compared to buying fresh vegetables. So instead of automatically buying sliced and chopped vegetables next time you’re in the supermarket, go for fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
This won’t only save your money, but it is also a healthy choice as vegetables start to lose their nutritional value quicker once chopped. If you don’t have time for chopping vegetables every day, then chop some in bulk on a Sunday night and save them in your fridge. It will last almost a whole week. You can store peeled garlic and chopped onion for more than a week easily. If you really detest chopping then invest in a food processor that chops for you in a matter of seconds!
Don’t waste food
Reports are published that every year letting us know tons of food gets wasted. Well, you can’t control the big food chains from wasting food, but what you can control is the food that’s wasted from your own kitchen. Try not to cook too much food, and when you end up cooking more than you need, don’t throw it away.
You can use the leftovers in a number of ways. If it’s a whole dish like a pasta bake or curry then simply store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and reheat them the next day, or day after, for dinner. We have some amazing Pyrex glass containers that can go straight from the fridge or freezer to the oven. They’re a great investment for food storage and reheating leftovers.
This will save you both time and money as you will be making two days’ worth of meals out of a single dinner.
Make sure you are meal planning too, instead of just buying random items from the supermarket. Many vegetables can be used in a variety of dishes, so learn to be inventive and flexible by using the veg that needs using up the most first.
For your peelings and any spoiled food that you simply cannot use in a meal then start your own compost heap. This too will save money as you’ll be able to make your own compost for the garden instead of buying new compost each year from the garden centre.
Buying for one meal at a time
Buying for one meal at a time and making trips to the grocery store daily is a very costly habit. If you have a habit of forgetting stuff, then make a list before leaving for the grocery store, but if you have a habit of buying only one meal at the time, then you must change this habit.
If you drive to the supermarket then this costs you extra in fuel for no reason. The best way to do grocery shopping is to buy in bulk for the whole week if you can. It is usually cheaper too as you get more value when you buy in bulk or buy larger versions of items - just remember to check the date on the items to make sure you will be able to use them before buying in bulk. Otherwise it will work out cheaper to buy less if you’d just end up throwing the extra away.
For vegetables and fruits, you can buy as much as you think will be used in a few days. Cook wisely by using those that are turning first. You can also freeze some fruits and vegetables if you have too many or they are starting to spoil. Frozen berries and bananas make a great smoothie when blended with ice and coconut milk!
The meat obsession
Eating meat is costly and unnecessary. We do not need to eat meat to survive, so it’s a waste of money, ethical reasons aside. Processed cheap meats are really bad for our health and organic local meat costs and arm and a leg. There are much cheaper alternatives that are plant based. Chickpeas, beans and lentils are a much cheaper option than meat. If you like a meaty texture then there are plenty of alternatives like soy based protein and seitan, but these start adding up too, so they don’t need eating every day. Beans and pulses are some of the cheapest things you can buy and they make great chillies, pies, curries and pasta sauces. There’s no need to eat meat or meat substitutes every single day. It’s expensive and there are some much healthier options. Eating more vegetables will keep you healthy, and your skin will glow! It will also save you some money that you can spend on something else.
If you want to save money in the kitchen and you are partaking in some of these bad kitchen habits then it’s time to make a change. Doing all of them at once might seem drastic to you, so start to change them one by one and adopt a healthier lifestyle and a more eco-friendly kitchen. You will see the changes yourself when, by the end of the month, you have more money left in your bank account and less transactions to the supermarket or your favourite takeaway! Go through your kitchen expenses and see where you can cut down. I hope my list will help you. Good luck!