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TT #37: How to Save Money – The Kitchen Edition

25 Mar 2009
Thursday Thirteen

How to Save Money: The Kitchen Edition

Number 1
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.

Number 2
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.)

Number 3
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.

Number 4
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.

Number 5
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.

Number 6
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.

Number 7
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.

Number 8
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?

Number 9
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.

Number 10
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.)

Number 11
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.

Number 12
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.

Number 13
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.

24 Comments leave one →
  1. 25 Mar 2009 5:25 PM

    I totally agree with everything on your list. I have a hard time cooking more than one meal at a time, but I try to do all the rest.

  2. 25 Mar 2009 5:36 PM

    Great tips! Happy T13!

  3. 25 Mar 2009 5:36 PM

    great list and i totally agree, especially with number 8!

  4. 25 Mar 2009 5:50 PM

    We already do some of those. I have an absolute phobia, almost, of running the dishwasher if there is any empty space in it.

    To your excellent advice, I’d add: don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry!

  5. 25 Mar 2009 5:56 PM

    I totally do #10…and #13 is something I keep saying I’m going to do. Great list!

  6. 25 Mar 2009 6:01 PM

    The easiest way to save money is to switch all your household utilities to this company, visit start saving today. We won company of the year at last thursdays plc awards and are constantly featured in which magazine. On average people save £800 a year just by coming with this company – No contracts pull out at any time this speaks for itself every other company puts you in a contract. check it out you wont be dissapointed.

  7. 25 Mar 2009 7:02 PM

    I, too, agree with #10. Bottled water is a huge waste of money. As to #9, the store where I shop posts its ads online so I can browse their ads and plan my meals and shopping before heading to the store.

  8. 25 Mar 2009 7:26 PM

    I love this list. I hand wash everything. Even when I had a dishwasher, I never used it. And I only food shop once a month. I just get bread/milk/eggs in between big trips.

  9. 25 Mar 2009 7:30 PM

    Great tips. I love my toaster oven:) Happy TT.

  10. 25 Mar 2009 7:46 PM

    A lot of great ideas. We don’t have a dishwasher so we/I handwash everything. The difficult one for me is #7 – though I don’t stray to far. #6 is a good idea. But for me Walmart and Meijer are virtually next door to each other and I find I save more by bargain shopping and planning ahead. And I only grocery shop twice a month. And that’s only if I have to rebuy items like bread and milk. I do a big stock up once every month or two.And #9 – I’m a coupon queen. I save so much by using coupons from the fliers and mailers in addition to online/add-on (for some bonus cards) and store coupons.

    Great Thursday 13.

  11. 25 Mar 2009 7:50 PM

    These are great tips, thanks so much for sharing! I’ve always lived with my parents, but I’ve recently gotten married and moving out soon. I’ve no idea how to take care of my own household and on a budget too, but these are great tips for me to start with!

  12. Ann Bruce permalink
    25 Mar 2009 8:23 PM

    @Betty: When I was outfitting my first home, I got a seasonal part-time job at Williams-Sonoma for the 40% employee discount at WS and Pottery Barn. Saved myself a bundle!

  13. 25 Mar 2009 9:57 PM

    I’m fascinated with how you cook more than one meal at a time. We have left overs, sure. But I don’t know how you would do that….

  14. 25 Mar 2009 11:33 PM

    Wow! I love your tips, I have a large set of mugs that I never use but only enough dishes for me and some roommates.

  15. 26 Mar 2009 3:28 AM

    For your #3, I always have a back up set of paper plates for just that reason. Our house is only two people, so we tend to run out of plates before anything else, until the dishwasher is full.

    Mine are posted now…hope to see you there sometime if you can find a bit of your day to stop by! happy Thursday.

  16. 26 Mar 2009 3:39 AM

    Great list. I totally agree about shopping lists and sticking to them. Hubby and I used to shop every week but cut down to every second week. It’s amazing how much cheaper it is to do our food shopping now.

  17. 26 Mar 2009 6:09 AM

    Super ideas. Number 5 is the one I’m currently working on.

  18. 26 Mar 2009 6:12 AM

    This was fun, and I really enjoyed last weeks post which I just went back and read. The leftovers thing is a huge point of frustration for me. I love leftovers and grew up thinking you never ate anything “new” until all the leftovers were gone. My SO refuses to eat leftovers. None. At all. I think he’s being silly, he thinks I’m cheap. I’m okay with that.

  19. 26 Mar 2009 8:11 AM

    Very sensible ideas. My family is still working on #5 and #6, but many of the others are already in place.

  20. 26 Mar 2009 1:28 PM

    I swear by #12, but the kids call it left overs.

  21. Ann Bruce permalink
    26 Mar 2009 5:46 PM

    @Alice Audrey: I sometimes make a base (e.g. spaghetti sauce) that can be used a number of different dishes (e.g. spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, pasta salad, etc.).

  22. 26 Mar 2009 6:50 PM

    I don’t have a dishwasher! So I’m doing at least one of those. I’m not sure if I agree with the “don’t go to the grocery store hungry” theory. If I’m not a little bit hungry, I don’t buy enough snackie stuff, which we need to survive at Casa Sorenson.

  23. 26 Mar 2009 7:54 PM

    I still use my Grandmother’s Stainless Steel, Copper Bottom, RevereWare that she had when I was a kid.

  24. 27 Mar 2009 5:57 AM

    You are definitely my kind of Bruce (my name too). I do almost all of these, except I’d never use a coupon without a gun to my head. They cover price increases and are marketing tools.

    Here’s mine.

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