Where do I spend my life? In the kitchen!!! I know a lot of Moms feel that way and especially those who opt to make most of their own foods. It just takes a lot more prep work and planning. Nothing is pre cooked and simple!
As I’ve stated in the past, to save time, I try to keep recipes that only take an hour or less to prepare. And to do that, having a kitchen that is well organized and has the most efficient tools (but not every gadget known to man) is a necessity.
So for tools and gadgets I don’t have much, but what I have I use a lot. My food processor, dehydrator, mandolin and kitchen aid (which I don’t use much, but can’t stand to part with) were all given to me as gifts. Either as wedding gifts or for birthday or Christmas. My [amazon_link id=”B000RRKQKA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Vitamix[/amazon_link] however, is another thing. I found my brand new in the box with the original seal still on it for $200 on Craigslist. It did take patience and a lot of looking to find it, but it was well worth it. The price tag that was still on the box said $499.99. That was a precious find. I use it TONS and used birthday money to purchase it!
My[amazon_link id=”B002CVTT52″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] rice cooker [/amazon_link]was from my mother-in-law when she ‘needed’ and upgrade I gladly adopted the cast off. Another great way to obtain needed objects! I keep my ears open to when people mention the fact they are getting a new this or that and will sweetly ask “Did your old one break?, No? What are you going to do with it?” And there you go… usually people are willing to give it to you or sell for super cheap and it’s a win, win. You get something you need and they don’t have to figure out what to do with the cast off.
I also do a lot of canning and it does have a few supplies that are needed to get started. I found my water [amazon_link id=”B0001UZL8A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]bath canner[/amazon_link] on freecycle, so didn’t pay a cent for that, except in gas to go pick it up a few miles away! I’ve also found [amazon_link id=”B005T6FBOK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]canning jars[/amazon_link] on freecycle and also for cheap on craigslist or at the thrift store. In a pinch I’ve purchased them at a grocery store, but definitely not the cheapest option. Also estate sales are a great way to get this kind of stuff as well!
I use a lot of jars in my kitchen instead of plastic. I have the trusty [amazon_link id=”B0000CFTB0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]pyrex[/amazon_link] for storage, but I also reuse glass jars from jarred olives, almond butter, and the like. I also use a lot of gallon jars for my ferments and making kombucha. The [amazon_link id=”B0027E0CAK” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ball gallon jars[/amazon_link] are $10 or more EACH at Ace or online. I don’t can in them, so I don’t need that quality. I just need them for storage or my ferments. I’ve found that at Costco the pickles (although have a lot of questionable ingredients) are sold in gallon jars for under $4. I do eat the pickles.. to get the jar (good excuse right!), but definitely prefer my fermented or canned ones instead. But it’s a great cheap way to get a gallon jar for storage of bulk purchases or making ferments.
Next… Food. It is so pricey these days, especially if you are trying to feed your family whole foods. I do most of my shopping at Trader Joes(TJs), the Asian market (for fresh produce although not organic) and Costco. I also use Amazon for a lot of bulk buys like [amazon_link id=”B004VLVBVG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]steel cut oats[/amazon_link]($0.13/oz),[amazon_link id=”B0012M8XPE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] disposable diapers[/amazon_link] ($0.13/diaper) (we use them on trips and at night), shredded, unsweetened coconut, [amazon_link id=”B000LKTBDQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]gluten free pasta[/amazon_link] (for a treat, $2.75/box),[amazon_link id=”B001CTO0YA” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ] fruit leathers[/amazon_link] (Stretch Island Fruit Leathers $0.30/ea), [amazon_link id=”B003VYIZT0″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]organic coconut milk[/amazon_link], and more.
The best deal that I’ve found at TJs is the applewood smoked bacon that is $3/lb for ends and pieces. Meaning it isn’t nicely laid out in a package, heavenly trimmed and aesthetically pleasing to the eye… it’s ends and pieces… but it’s neatly packaged counterpart is a whopping $9/lb!
Costco has been another great money savings option for us. We have found a lot there that we purchase. I only go about every 2-3 months and stock up on what we need. Here is a list of the most common purchases there; cold pressed coconut oil (54oz/$16), organic carrots($7.99), Green olives(two 33oz jars/$5.39), fair trade coffee, quinoa (4lbs/$8.59), chia seeds (2lbs/$10), organic dried figs (40/oz/$10), organic dried dates (40oz/$5.69), wild canned tuna, raisins,
Another money saver is free food! What a concept! Find a neighbor, friend or stranger who has a fruit tree in their yard and doesn’t like to use/eat the fruit or can’t use all that it produces. My mother has a neighbor who gives us free or cheap apples and peaches when in season. They may not be the prettiest, but I bed the are tasty and organic! You can also get a great discount at farmer’s markets for buying in bulk or seconds which is great if you were going to can them anyway.
Another way to save is purchasing wholesale. A mom’s group I’m a part of orders wholesale from Frontiers and I can get organic spices, essential oils, and LOTS of other dry goods for great prices. I don’t order from there very often, but it’s a nice option to have. Since they only order every 2-3 months I have to be organized to know what I need before I run out, but it’s well worth it!
And last but not least, even though I don’t keep in in the kitchen I make it in the kitchen! I don’t purchase most cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, shampoo (no-poo) or other personal care items. I make my own and it is SUPER cheap compared to their store counterparts, and I feel they work every bit as well! I’ve tried making my own makeup, but that didn’t turn out too well! and hair styling items I do splurge on!
So I hope maybe that will give you some ideas of ways you can start saving some pennies. Each penny adds up and in the end it is often hundreds of dollars. I encourage you to take a look at your kitchen purchasing habits and see if you can make some cuts and what that would look like.
If this post has helped you in anyway, I’d love to hear!