Recently I have been looking allot at our home budget to see where we could “tighten our belts” like many of you who read this are doing. Being a chef who cooks and eats a huge variety of foods, our grocery bills can be staggering. I appreciate fine ingredients and sustainable foods like grass-fed beef and pork, seafood, organic vegetables, tropical fruits, hard to find grains etc.
We make every effort to make many of our staple foods from scratch including all bread, soups, pancake mix, creme fraiche, hot sauces, baby foods, pizza etc. This can save a tremendous amount of money. For instance, making a large pot of soup that will feed 4 people 3-4 times each, can cost as little as 3-4 dollars. Conversely, buying soup for that many meals can cost $15 or more.
Many of these easy-to-make pantry staples can be found in my new cookbook so those of you who own a copy can put them to use. While these ideas can save money, the biggest reductions by far has been lowering our intake of meats and increasing the amount of one-pot meals we make. Meats are expensive, no two-ways about it. We have successfully reduced our consumption of meat to 1-2 times per week, as opposed to 4-6 times per week. We replaced the meat dishes with tasty main-course salads, soups and vegetarian stews, usually made with legumes. We also have been planning meals further in advance and looking for printed coupons before going to the store, this saves money each trip by keeping you “on your list” instead of free-wheeling and buying what looks good. We plan our meals using as many seasonal items as well..THIS SAVES MONEY!
I personally do not miss the extra meat, however finding and clipping coupons is not my thing…..I leave that to my wife.
So I suggest the following for those of you looking to save cash.
- Complete a weekly seasonal menu that is planned out in advance and find coupons that can save money.
- Attempt to replace 2-3 meat meals with vegetarian meals such as pastas, soups and main course salads.
- Don’t buy things you can easily make at home like bread, soups, pizza, stocks and broths.
A little extra effort can easily result in $100-$200 dollar s in savings every few months. This easily adds up and allows those funds to go towards other budget items such as car payments, utility bills and insurance.
I hope this helps!