Use these tips to lower your grocery bill
These days, every time we go to the grocery store, it seems that the prices of even the most basic items on our shopping list have increased in price. Inflation is affecting everyone, and while there isn't much we can do about it, we can cut costs in the kitchen.
Some of the best advice on saving money in the kitchen comes from past generations. Our grandparents and great-grandparents all lived through lean times and picked up some frugal and resourceful tips that we can still apply today to save some bucks. Join us for a look at some of the best tips on how to save money while cooking.
During World War II, food was rationed in many countries around the world. In some cases, you could only purchase an item if you had a government-issued coupon. Foods such as meat, cheese, sugar, coffee, canned fish, and canned milk were highly sought-after.
Today, we have access to basically everything we could dream of, and we can pop out to the store to buy whatever we need, but unnecessary trips to the grocery store often results in impulse buys. So before you head out to the store, check your pantry and see what sort of creative substitutions you can make.
Using what you have on hand will save money in the store, and it will also help you save time and money on gas, which is more expensive than ever. So try out some of these easy substitutions from our grandparents:
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice = 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup milk + 1 1/3 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 cup butter = 1/2 cup buttermilk + 1/2 cup applesauce
A few other good substitutions to know include:
- 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs
- 1 cup sugar = 2/3 cup agave nectar
- 1 egg = 1/2 banana or 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup plain yogurt
This might seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes a lack of planning can cost you a lot more at the grocery store and contribute to food waste.
However, BEFORE you start planning, go "shopping" in your pantry and fridge. Take note of those items you need to use up and what you have. Make your meal plan based on the items you already have and only buy what you really need at the grocery store.
Make it a habit to avoid food waste. Freezing items before they go bad that you know you won't use up soon is one easy way to do this. Just wash your produce and trim off any ugly parts, chop it up and pop it into a freezer bag for easy use later.
Another is to start a vegetable scrap bag in your freezer. Throw in trimmings of vegetables and peels, and when you have enough, you can quickly turn those scraps that would have ended up in the bin into a delicious vegetable broth. Another easy trick from our grandparents: turn stale bread into breadcrumbs or use it to make bread pudding.
Buying a whole chicken is cheaper per pound than buying the butchered meat. You can also really avoid food waste and take advantage of all the extra bits when buying a whole bird.
If you roast the whole chicken, you can get several meals out of it: 1) Enjoying the big pieces of roasted bird in a meal 2)Pick the chicken clean and use the leftover bits of meat in a chicken salad or to make a delicious homemade chicken soup. 3) Use the bones of the chicken to make a fantastic homemade bone broth.
Much like buying the whole chicken, buying meat with the bones in you will save significantly on the price of meat.
This money-saving tip was very popular in the Great Depression era, not only because it was frugal but also because cuts of meat with the bone left in taste better! And don't forget to save those bones to make more bone broth just like you did with the chicken!
Beans are much more economical compared to meat! Nowadays, we consume far more meat than our ancestors did, so take a note from grandma and try subbing in beans or lentils in your favorite dishes. If you really want to cut costs, buy beans and lentils in bulk and dry!
You don't have to be a farmer or have a giant yard to put in a vegetable garden to grow your own food. Even if you live in a tiny apartment, you can grow plenty of vegetables in pots so long as you have natural light coming in.
Growing your own herbs, lettuce, green onions, and even tomatoes is possible in almost all living arrangements. It is inexpensive and will provide you with higher quality produce than you could find at the grocery store.
If you are working hard on cutting food waste, making a big old pot of soup every week will help you immensely. You can use your homemade veggie scrap/bone broth as a base and then add in leftover bits of meat and any vegetables you see in your fridge that look like they are on their last legs.