Lifestyle,  Money

5 Ways To Save Money By Cooking At Home

Cooking is one of the most important life skills that every person should learn. Assuming you already know how to cook, you’re probably wondering how you can save money by cooking at home.

Eating out all the time is hard on your wallet and your waistline, and cooking for yourself (and/or your family) has the benefit of allowing you to know exactly what is going into your meals.

However, the very act of grocery shopping and cooking isn’t what saves you money. It’s how you do it. You can save a lot of money by cooking at home, if you use some savvy planning.

1. BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED

If you don’t cook much Asian food, then maybe don’t buy the 1kg bag of noodles. Bulk buying can save you money sometimes, but not always. You should always remember that it’s not a good deal if you end up throwing most of it away.

Equally, if you need just a bit of a spice you’ve never used before for a new recipe, buy a small jar from the supermarket as oppose to a gigantic one from Costco. You don’t even know if you’ll like it or get as much use out of it before it expires.

There are different kinds of bulk buying though, and if you eat a lot of pasta, go for the large 5kg supermarket own brand bags – they work out so much more cost effective.

2. LOOK OUT FOR SUPERMARKET OFFERS

Always look out for the weekly supermarket deals on fresh produce and the yellow sticker bargains – I’m a sucker for those. If you’re planning on making a stir-fry for dinner and want to add mushrooms to it, but asparagus is half price that week, consider switching it out.

Personally, if the price is right, I’d buy extra fruit and veg to prep and freeze for a future meal.

3. MAKE YOUR OWN

Avoid bottled dressings, sauces, gravies, and salsas. Same goes for pancake, waffle, and muffin mixes. These things are easy to make from scratch, taste better, and cost much less.

For a new cook, one of the most daunting tasks is figuring out how to convert measurements – how many tablespoons in a cup? How many millilitres in a litre? These are questions we all had when starting out. The ingredient conversion calculator at Culinary Schools.org are brilliant for quick conversions, regardless of how new to cooking you are – even for a seasoned cook!

I’ve been cooking for a number of years now but there are times where I’m in the middle of a recipe and simply don’t know how to measure out an ingredient, especially when the directions are using metric versus imperial units.

4. COOK WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE

Meal planning is key to saving money by cooking at home. It’s easier to plan your meals based on what’s in your kitchen already. Don’t buy more; cook what you have and be creative with it!

Instead of throwing away the broccoli stalks, turn them into soup or add them to sauces. Many people put cauliflower leaves in the bin, which I personally think is a crime! They taste delicious stir fried with some garlic, or roasted in the oven alongside some other veg.

By proactively trying to eliminate food waste, you’ll be saving money by making the ingredients you have stretch further and you’ll be eating a more varied diet too. It’s a win-win.

5. ENJOY SIMPLE MEALS

While I am the first to choose a sushi dinner when it’s an option, I also know that a homemade sushi bowl can taste just as good at a fraction of the price and for very little effort. It’s as easy as cooking some sushi rice and topping with your favourite fillings – in my case, avocado, cucumber, red pepper, sushi ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds and nori.

These are all ingredients I have at home on a regular basis, so it really is very simple to assemble. This is also something you can get the children involved in, to show them cooking can be fun and teach them about food waste. Culinary Schools have some fabulous fun and educational games which bring joy to kids and adults alike!

Coffee Shop in particular is one of our favourites. It’s a great simulation game for older children and adults where you try to earn the coffee shop as much money as possible. The game includes factors like stocking ingredients, spoilage, changing drink formulas, managing the price and changing consumer demand based. It’s very fast paced and makes you take a number of factors into consideration, not just the mathematical aspect of it.

Read more: Make Easy Money From Your Grocery Receipts With Shoppix

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