Save money by cooking from scratch
Saving money by cooking from scratch.
Save more money by cooking from scratch. Canadians spend an average of 12% of their income on food every year. Unfortunately, most of the items purchased are processed foods that can easily be made from scratch at home, for pennies on the dollar.
There are many benefits to cooking from scratch. Here are just a few:
1. You know exactly what you are eating. No more excess salt, sugar and all that other bad stuff.
2. You save money. Processed, pre-packaged foods are not only unhealthy (most of the time), they are often much more expensive than making them yourself. Cooking from scratch is a fantastic way to save money on groceries.
3. Food tastes better. Let’s face it – homemade food is almost always tastier than the processed stuff.
Are you ready to start cooking from scratch?
Learn simple cooking techniques.
Do you avoid cooking at home because you simply don’t know what you’re doing in the kitchen? Learn a few simple cooking techniques and practice them often so that cooking in the kitchen doesn’t seem so scary anymore.
Some things to consider learning:
– How to hold a knife properly.
– The difference between chopping, dicing and mincing.
– How to sauté onions and garlic.
Do your prep work as early as possible.
Try to get as much done for your meal as early as possible. The morning of is great, the night before is better. Chop your veggies, marinate your meat, pre-measure your pasta. This saves so much time when 5 o’clock rolls around and it’s time to make dinner.
You can also try doing some bulk cooking once or twice a month. You can save some serious money by freezer cooking.
Keep often-used staples on hand at all times.
Items such as salt, pepper, garlic, basil, flour, sugar – are all basic pantry staples that are used very often in most kitchens.
Don’t forget about refrigerated items as well, such as milk, butter, cheese and eggs. Since these things are used in a wide variety of easy recipes, it’s important to keep them on hand at all times. Doing so will ensure that you won’t ever have to run out to the store to pick up that one missing ingredient, thus saving you money.
Look for easy recipes.
Sometimes the most simple ingredients can create the most delicious dishes. Just because there are lots of fancy recipes out there doesn’t mean you have to try to create all of them. Keep it simple! Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many ingredients and steps.
We have many recipes on our easy recipes page that are not only simple to make, but relatively inexpensive to prepare as well.
Plan a weekly menu.
Life is so much easier when you plan a weekly menu. Even if you ignore breakfast and lunch, and only plan dinner menus – it’s worth the time.
Knowing what you are going to be eating each week will not only save you money at the grocery store (because you will only be buying the items you need, instead of the items you think you will need but then never end up using), it will also save you the time that you would normally spend standing in front of the fridge thinking “what should I make for dinner tonight?”.
Cook for the freezer/batch cook.
When you’re cooking from scratch, it’s much easier to double and triple recipes. If you are making pasta for dinner, using your own homemade pasta sauce, double or triple the recipe and put the extra away in the freezer to use the next time you need a yummy red sauce.
Be sure to invest in some good quality freezer storage containers and always write the date on your packaging before you pop it in the freezer, to avoid eating food past it’s prime.
Practice, practice, practice.
Cooking from scratch is easy once you get the hang of it, but in order to get the hang of it you have to constantly be practicing.
Accept the failures that you may have and don’t ever give up. Try and try again. Cooking from scratch gets much easier with time.
Food items that we always cook from scratch:
– Salad Dressing
– Pasta Sauce
Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be a tedious chore. If you practice enough, you will eventually get the hang of it and it won’t take you much time at all.
I always encourage people to cook from scratch whenever possible because I really do believe that that is one of the best ways that we can save money on our grocery bills and also to eat healthier foods.
Excellent article, Cassie!
I can’t believe how many “young” people (from observation, about 30 and under!) don’t know how to cook or worse, feel they don’t have to learn. Many don’t because they don’t like it. Hey, I don’t often like it either…but I’m a homemaker-it IS my job to provide nutritious meals for my family! If that involves learning about nutrition, researching recipes, learning cooking techniques, etc, then so be it-jump in!
I often cook double, triple, etc recipes and freeze them for future use-I like a day off once in a while! So handy to grab out precooked and preseasoned taco meat, or burger patties to thaw and grill, or precut chicken baggied with soy, ginger, garlic and honey to thaw and toss in the pan for stir fry…along with the 3 cups of cooked rice I need for fried rice, lasagna is as easy to make 6 pans as one, etc. Cook once, eat three times!
Cassie, Great post and good advice. I cook from scratch every day and it takes practice and a little bit of time but atleast we know exactly what goes into our meal.. and its definitely cheaper and healthier.
We also make our own mayonnaise – it’s basically just oil, eggs, vinegar and lemon juice and tastes so much better! Also, we always make our own popcorn on the stove. It is sooo tasty and we avoid all the chemicals that are in microwaveable popcorn.
I also went through a phase making my own bread – it is a lot of work, but it’s rewarding and really cheap.
Whenever we have extra cooked rice left over we freeze it in a Ziploc bag. Once enough has accumulated we make fried rice for a one-pot meal. Costs next to nothing!
I also have started prepping the vegetables, thawing the meat and taking out the dry goods for the next night’s meal while I am prepping the current night’s dinner. On top of meal planning, it’s a sure way for me to stick to eating at home and not get tempted to eat out. Half the work is already done and I have no excuse not to cook.