How to Save Money: The Kitchen Edition
Don’t cheap out on cookware. A good set will last you a lifetime, whereas a cheap set will need to be replaced regularly and will end up costing more in the long run. If you go for All-Clad and Le Creuset, they have lifetime warranties–and they do honor their policies.
You don’t need casual and formal dinnerware and flatware sets. Spend a little more and buy the good stuff that’s nice enough for guests yet durable enough for everyday use. My Sophie Conran dinnerware is oh-so-pretty, yet all the pieces–even the mugs–can go in the oven. (This also cuts down on cleaning time and water usage since I can cook and serve on the same dinner plate if I’m cooking for one or two.)
Run the dishwasher only if it’s full. Surprisingly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I have friends who only have enough dinnerware and flatware for four, so they run out of clean dishes before the dishwarer is full. My recommendation is to have at least a set of eight so you don’t run into this problem. If you don’t want to buy more stuff, then try hand-washing.
Buy a convection toaster oven. You can use it instead of the full-sized oven to bake breads, cheesecakes, chicken wings, pizza…pretty much anything smaller than a turducken.
Reduce the number of grocery shopping trips. You will reduce temptation to buy stuff and save on gas. Personally, I only go once a week…because I combine it with visits with my mom.
Shop at one store. I do 99% of my grocery shopping at Superstore. While Wal-Mart, Sobeys, or Safeway might have something I need for a couple dollars less, the gas and time I spend to get there could net out the savings.
Make a grocery list and STICK TO IT. Also, it’s easier to be disciplined if you don’t go while hungry. My routine is to visit my mom, eat until I have to pop the top button of my fly, then hit Superstore.
Buy only what you will use in the short term. Buying in bulk could end up costing you more because of lost opportunity costs and you might not use it all and have to throw it out. Will you really eat 3 gallons of mayo before it expires?
Most grocery stores have coupons in store, so don’t browse fliers for coupons or deals at home. You might end up buying stuff you don’t need at stores you don’t normally visit. Remember, 50% off a $10 item means you still have to spend $5. I took this a step further and requested that Canada Post cease delivery of all junk mail to my mailbox.
Skip the bottled water. Most, like Aquafina, are treated tap water. Get yourself a Brita filter, a Nalgene bottle, and reduce the number of plastic bottles in landfills. (If people recycled more, I wouldn’t have an issue with bottled water.)
Rotate your food. Essentially, put newer items in the back and older items in the front to help you remember to use up the latter before they expire.
Cook more than one meal at a time. I generally prepare enough food for three or four days at a time. This cuts down on time spent on cooking and cleaning.
Eat everything before making more. If you have too many options, you might end up letting food go bad and have to toss it out. Personally, I like to pack leftovers for lunch because they’re tastier, healthier, and cheaper than the fast-food options at work.