Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Frugal cooking

One of the best ways I have found to save money is on the cooking vs eating out mind set. Cooking doesn't have to be the chore that everyone thinks it is. Even if you have never cooked before, you can start making your own meals and save hundreds every month.

One of the very first things you should do if you have never seriously cooked before is invest in a good cookbook. I would suggest one of the big Betty Crocker ones with the red and white checked covers. It will cover every type of basic cooking from appetizers all the way thru snacks and desserts and it is also very easy to read and understand. Some of the more complicated dishes even have step by step pictures. Granted, these are generally just basic recipes, but for someone who hasn't cooked before, it is a great asset.

Another thing to do is always keep a supply of staples on hand. I always have a cabinet full of seasonings and spices, dried beans, different pastas, and grains (barley, rice, oatmeal, corn meal, plain and self rising flours, and grits). It is also a good idea to keep sugar or sweeteners on hand, including brown sugar and powdered sugar, and cocoa, corn starch, baking soda and baking powder. These are just a few of my pantry staples to get a general idea. Most of these things can be easily purchased in bulk since they all store well as long as they are kept dry and cool. Add vegetables and meats to these basic things and you can make just about any type of meal you want.

One of the things you really want to stay away from buying is mixes. Do you really need to spend $2.00 on a box of brownie mix when you have everything to make brownies at home already? Lets say you buy the mix on sale for $1.75. You still have to add eggs and oil or butter to the mix. So you buy a dozen eggs on sale for $1.19. You have butter or margarine at home already. So now these brownies are costing you $2.94. At home you already have the cocoa, sugar, self rising flour, and butter. So you spend $1.19 for the eggs instead. Now your decision to make brownies is only costing you a little over a buck. But since you will only be using 2 or 3 of the eggs, it is actually only costing about 20 to 30 cents. See the point?

In the last month, I have managed to cut our food spending by half, just by not eating out. I took a day to cook and freeze several different meats for those days when I just don't feel like cooking or when we would need a quick dinner because of the kid's schedules. Those would be the days that we would normally eat out. I have even made up some hamburger patties and froze them so that hamburgers would be quick and painless.(secret--put small squares of waxed paper between them so they don't stick together.)

Learning to cook is well worth the time and effort if you are serious about saving money and eating healthier. You will be able to control the amount of fat and sodium in your foods, you can make sure that the freshest possible ingredient are being used, and you will not have some minimum wage person that you don't know handling your food. It is also very satisfying to be able to make it yourself. Your friends and family will be in awe of your new skills in the kitchen and will want your recipes.

And the best part is that you will be saving a ton of cash in the process.

No comments:

google search

Custom Search

dream weaver stats