We’re wrapping up 2017 and that means two things; good home cooked meals and thinking about New Years resolutions. So I say: why not combine the two, and save money at the same time? Health and money changes are always in the top three new years resolutions. Save money by cooking more next year!
Everyone needs to eat, and I believe that we don’t have to be at odds with our food. This time of year, people are often regretting the amount of holiday sweets they’ve eaten and are making firm resolutions to hit the gym and cut out sugar come January.
Cooking at home is a proven way to save money. Restaurant meals can range from $7-$35 for just one plate. A meal at home often costs less than $5 and there’s always the option of leftovers!
It’s a little unrealistic to think you’ll pass on every cookie you’ll see next year, but cooking at home is definitely something you can do more. Here’s how to get set up and save that money.
Organize Your Kitchen
A big road block to cooking at home is feeling overwhelmed or turned off by your kitchen. If it’s constantly messy or you don’t have the right tools to cook anything, you won’t cook. To save money by cooking at home, do these two things:
-Give your kitchen a thorough cleaning. Clean out any old food in your fridge, donate canned food that you’re never going to eat, and clean all your dishes. Put dishes, pots and pans in an quick to reach place so that you can use them easily. Put cooking oil and spices near the stove so you have everything you need to make a delicious dish at hand.
-Invest in cookware. You might need to spend a little money here, but it’ll come back to you. A $10 nonstick pan is an upfront cost that you’ll have for years and is a basic cooking need. Head to Goodwill and pick up a large mixing bowl, two skillets, and at least one pot. Two large wooden spoons, a spatula, and a pair of tongs are also good tools you’ll use over and over.
Start With Easy Recipes
Sometimes I see perfect images of food on the internet and delude myself into thinking I can make the same vegan brownies with homemade almond butter topping. I absolutely cannot!
Start with manageable dishes. Build your own tac night is going to be way more manageable (and fun!) than shooting for a souffle. If you need some ideas to get started, visit budgetbytes.com for some cheap ideas for meals.
Always Make More and Enjoy Leftovers
To save the most money by cooking at home, make a large amount of food each time you cook and have the leftovers the next day. This saves you time, money, and cleaning up in the kitchen.
Simply double or triple the recipe and box it up in tupperware. You’ll thank yourself the next day when you don’t have to buy lunch or spend the time making another meal for yourself.
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Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.