51 Money Saving Cooking Tips and Kitchen Hacks You Have to TrySave on Bills
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Food buying, storing, preparation, cooking, eating and cleaning can significantly dip into our funds every week.
Make the most of what you buy with these 51 time and money saving hacks and money saving cooking tips you can use while food shopping, preparing a meal, or generally maintaining your kitchen space.
1. Use Clean Energy, Make Cash Back
Our first tip is to be aware of the energy you’re using in the kitchen.
With Arcadia Power, you can connect your utility (without cost or changing your utility plan) and they let you know when your energy is the cleanest. They also notify you when it’s dirty.
If you minimize energy use at that time, then they will give you cash back payments and a change to win prizes. A win for you and the environment!
2. Install Smart Features
A useful hack is to install smart features such as thermostats, cameras, doorbells, alarm systems, and smoke or CO2 alarms.
With Nest, you can monitor these devices right from your phone, meaning that if your hands are full in the kitchen, you can still see what’s going on in the rest of the house.
3. Save Money with Renewable Energy
You can support renewable energy projects at no extra cost.
Think of this: You’re whipping up a family meal in the kitchen when your phone buzzes.
It’s Arcadia Power letting you know a lower rate of clean energy is available. You can make the switch in minutes and automatically save money with $0 in fees.
4. Use Someone Else’s Kitchen
Are you planning to have a small dinner party or event?
Why not rent an Airbnb for a night and use someone else’s bigger kitchen, with possibly more dishware and server ware?
This saves you time cleaning your place before people come over (the Airbnb host will clean beforehand) and renting or buying more items to host.
Airbnb is also a great money saving opportunity if you become a host.
Whether you go out of town and leave your house empty for a while or have an extra property that’s just sitting empty, consider renting it out for extra income.
Preparation-Based Money Saving Hacks
5. Have a Shopping List
One of the best money saving hacks is to make a shopping list before you go shopping, then stick to it.
This prevents you from wandering the aisles, picking up items you don’t really need.
6. Make a Meal Plan
One of the most well-known money saving cooking tips and hacks is to make a meal plan, preferably for an upcoming week.
While it may be difficult for some, for those that do plan their meals, it can be a way to make sure nothing in the kitchen is being wasted.
By making a plan, you can also determine which groceries to buy beforehand and avoid spending on unnecessary items.
7. Read the Recipe Well
For those of us cooking with a recipe, we may scan it for pertinent details then get right into the process.
But how many times do we make mistakes or botch the recipe, wasting food?
Instead, one of our best money saving cooking tips is to actually read the recipe all the way through.
8. Prep in Advance
Wash, cut, and store veggies and starches you are going to use for the week’s cooking on the weekend.
That way, you don’t need to do that during the week, saving time and energy after a long day at work.
Food Storage Hacks
9. Increase Banana Shelf-Life
This is an insanely easy kitchen hack you have to try.
Take a bunch of bananas and pick them apart. Wrap the open tops in plastic wrap.
It sounds weird, but it keeps them from becoming brown for much longer!
10. Keep Your Cheese Fresh Longer
We’ve all had those blocks of cheese that were more like bricks.
To keep cheese from drying out, rub it with butter or non-stick cooking spray then wrap it in plastic wrap. The oil prevents it from drying out.
11. Keep Avocados Green
Save money in the kitchen by not wasting food.
Store avocados with a cut onion. The onion’s sulfur compounds prevent oxidation and will keep your avocados good for another one or two days.
12. Keep Mushrooms from Drying Out
Place store-bought mushrooms into paper bags wrapped in damp paper towel.
It will significantly extend their life by mimicking their natural environment.
13. Know Your Fridge
Did you know that the warmest part of the fridge is the door?
Make sure to place items with the least chance of spoiling — condiments and non-dairy beverages — in the door to prevent spoiling and save money in the kitchen.
14. Mind Your Fridge Space
You may not think of this when you think of food storage hacks, but it’s actually really important to know.
When a fridge is too full, it disrupts airflow and effective cooling.
This means that food may go back faster.
Plus, if you can’t see all of your food then it also may lead to uneaten and expired waste.
15. Flip Out
Often, the jars in the outer part of the fridge (the warmer part) may get moldy over time.
To prevent that, flip them upside down. The weight of their insides will create a seal and prevent mold.
Just be sure the cover is on nice and tight!
16. Place Apples and Potatoes Together
You may be surprised to know that apples and potatoes were meant to be together.
Apples will actually keep potatoes from sprouting, thus increasing their shelf life.
So, make sure to cuddle them up together in your pantry.
17. Freshen Up
Have you ever had onion or garlic that went moldy or soggy on the side it was resting on?
Prevent that by storing onions and garlic in breathable, ideally hangable, containers such as mesh shopping bags.
How to Salvage Not Throw Away
18. Don’t Throw Away Limp Veggies
Often, we throw away veggies — especially lettuce, spinach, salad greens – because they are limp.
The true money saving hack is that you only need to put them in water! Most likely they became dehydrated after being cut.
19. Soften Hard Brown Sugar
We’ve all opened up our brown sugar and seen a brown brick.
To help soften it back to normal, microwave it with a damp paper towel for 20 seconds. Or, toss in a marshmallow or two.
20. Check for Bad Eggs
It can be hard to know if an egg has gone bad.
Save money in the kitchen by placing an egg in a bowl of water.
If it sinks to the bottom, it’s okay. If it floats, then you’ve got a rotten egg!
21. Eat Leftovers
Is there anything else to say about this one?
It’s not even really a cooking hack or tip, more like common sense. There’s no need to waste good food!
If you don’t like the idea of eating the same thing over again, spruce it up by adding spices, cheese or other toppings, or use a different base such as rice, pasta, or wraps.
22. Prune Your Celery
If you trim the tops off your celery, it can keep them fresher for longer.
Make sure to save the leaves to add to a salad.
Use Every Last Little Bit
23. Use Every Last Drop
Make sure to squeeze as much juice as you can out of lemons or limes.
When you’ve done that, pop the remains in a water pitcher and swirl it around. Voila, you get citrus-fresh flavored water!
24. Buy a Tiny Spatula
When cooking at home, nothing is more annoying than when you have almost enough of an ingredient.
Well, scrape that list bit out of any jar with a tiny spatula.
25. Make Money-Saving DIY Dressing
Have a near-empty mayo or fake-mayo jar?
Just add in some olive oil, vinegar, herbs and spices then shake well.
That’ll get every last bit out of the jar while providing a DIY salad dressing.
26. Keep Stock
If you didn’t use all the stock in a can or bag, then freeze it for later.
Pour it into cups or ice cube trays, pop them out and store in a plastic bag for easy access later. No need to waste money on new stock.
27. Turn Leftovers into Lunch
If you’re already cooking, it is much easier to add in extra quantities than to start again from scratch.
One of our favorite money saving cooking tips is to make extra portions then place them in lunch containers.
Now you’ve just saved yourself prep and cook time for at least another one or two meals!
28. Make Stock in a Slow-Cooker
Now that you’ve got a slow-cooker, you can actually make your own stock from leftover scraps (that have been in the freezer).
Place veggies and/or bones in with some water and let it simmer overnight for a robust stock you can use for further cooking.
29. Keep the Tops
Did you know that the green tops of beets, carrots and radishes are actually delicious?
Use them in stir-fries, soups, or even as side dishes to minimize waste.
30. When Life Gives You Stale Bread, Make Croutons
The name says it all. Use stale bread to make croutons in this money saving kitchen tip.
It works two ways: saving you from wasting edible food and saving you the money you would have spent on croutons.
Croutons can be expensive!
31. Warm the Honey Pot
Honey never goes bad — but it can crystallize.
To return the crystals to liquid form, place the jar in the microwave or heat it in a pot of warm water on medium-low until the crystals soften.
32. Whisk Up Buttermilk
If you’ve got milk left or don’t want to buy an entire buttermilk container, mix a cup of milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
Then just whisk and let it curdle into buttermilk.
Tips to Remember While Shopping
33. Look at Dates
One of the most popular money saving cooking tips is to check the expiration or “use by” dates of an item at the store.
Even look at the items at the back of the shelf. That’s where they may store the newer items that would last longer on your shelf, meaning no expired food to be wasted!
34. Get Bulky
While buying perishable food in bulk doesn’t make sense for most single people or smaller-family households, it does make sense for non-perishable items.
Consider all of the items that are much cheaper to buy in bulk, such as toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and canned goods.
Maximize Your Freezer’s Potential
35. Freeze Seasonal Fruit
Do you love seasonal fruits like mangoes or pineapples?
Here’s a money saving hack to make sure you have your favorite fruits even in winter.
Wash your favorite fruit then dab dry it (to prevent ice crystals from forming).
Then, place it on a tray and freeze until frozen.
Take out, place in a plastic bag and freeze. They’ll be good for up to one year!
36. Freeze Herbs
Keep your herbs fresh with this food storage hack.
If you have an abundance of herbs and don’t want them to wilt and go to waste, place portions in ice cube trays with a little olive oil then freeze.
Now you have perfect herb portions for future cooking endeavors, without paying any extra money.
37. Utilize Your Freezer
When making leftovers, consider freezing them for even longer-lasting easy meals.
Some of the best foods to freeze include: chili, lasagna, spinach pie, pasta bakes, pot pies, soups, burritos, and enchiladas.
Freezing future meals is one of the best money saving cooking tips.
Time Saving Kitchen Hacks
38. Forgo Mid-Bake Flipping
Flipping food like roast veggies or fries in the oven can be a pain.
Instead, use this time saving kitchen hack: heat your pan before putting the food on it so the food browns evenly. No flipping necessary!
39. Ripen Fruit When You Need It
Avocados are the worst offenders here.
Just get a paper bag and place unripe fruits in there at room temperature.
They’ll ripen faster (hopefully in time for that guacamole you want).
40. Clean Along the Way
As you’re cooking, if you have a moment or two before you need to do something, wash up a dish or pot that you just used.
It’ll add up and save lots of time later.
41. Save Time with a Slow-Cooker
An easy time saving kitchen hack is to invest in a slow-cooker.
You can chuck items in the night before or in the morning and then just let it sit throughout the day.
No extra effort required, and it’ll be ready by dinner!
42. Keep It Simple
While elaborate meals may be great for those with a lot of time on their hands, or for the weekend or special occasion, if you stick to simple meals for the weekdays it will save you a lot of time.
Use similar ingredients but just vary sauces and spices to make meal prepping as easy as possible.
Money Saving Cooking Tips and Kitchen Hacks You Have to Try
43. Soak Dried Beans
Another of our favorite money saving cooking tips is to buy dry beans.
They often come much cheaper than canned beans.
The reason? They can’t be used immediately.
If you take the time to soak them overnight, you can use them the next day or toss them in the freezer to use any day.
44. Peel Ginger Like a Pro
If you’re using a potato peeler to peel ginger, you’re actually losing a lot of the good stuff.
Instead, use a teaspoon edge. It works much better.
45. Eat on Smaller Plates
Eating on smaller plates makes it look like there’s actually more food on the plate, compared to larger plates.
This helps control portions and also limits overserving, which can lead to wasted food (and money).
46. Use Basic Math
While most of us don’t cook at the extreme levels of soufflé, most of us do cook many items that need to be timed relatively right.
For instance, if you’re cooking a meal and you have items of varying levels of hardness/prep then you need to start them at different times in order to finish all together.
It takes some time to master, but using basic math working backward from the finish time can help keep you from burning, undercooking, or overcooking anything.
47. Foam Milk Easily
Not all of us can have a fancy milk frother.
Instead, fill a small jar with less than half milk, screw on the lid and shake it — a lot.
When the milk has doubled in size, microwave for 30 seconds.
48. Track Your Trash
Keep track of what you throw out, so you know to buy less or none of it next time.
49. Get Your Microwave Sparkling Clean
To loosen those hard, crusty bits that have been inhabiting your microwave for months now, fill a small bowl or sponge with water or lemon juice or both.
Then microwave it. The steam and acidity will help soften up those pieces for easy cleaning.
50. De-Stain Your Cutting Board
Rub the stains right out by scrubbing them with salt, massaging it with half a lemon then rubbing a bit of oil on it in the end.
It’ll look like new.
51. Buy a Spiralizer
Many supermarkets sell zucchini pasta and so on.
Make your own with a spiralizer and make healthy noodle alternatives without the added cost of fancy in-store brands.
Save money and eat healthier!
Are there any money saving cooking tips or kitchen hacks we should have included in our list but didn’t? Share your favorite hacks in a comment below!
Logan is a CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.