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7 kitchen tips that help me save money and time during my busy week.
Life is busy. If you’re like me, you work full-time, take your kids to after school activities, help with homework and projects, run errands, grocery shop, cook and clean….just to make a few. If you can find time to sleep, I admire you. Most days I zombie my way through the day thinking of how great it would be if I was home in bed catching some z’s.
Kitchen duties are the worst in my book. All that chopping, cooking, putting always, cleaning and repeating each day is exhausting. So I started creating tricks to make my kitchen life easier, hoping that it will rub off on other parts of my life, ha-ha.
Here are 7 of my kitchen tips that save me time and money in the kitchen.
Kitchen Tip 1: Homemade “Lunchables”
My kids love lunchables(and I think it’s safe to say that most kids-and adults-enjoy this easy snack). But, as much as I love the convenience, the price is high when all you get is 5 measly crackers, some cheese and some meat. I mean, if gathered all the cheese end to end or put the meat side by side, they’d maybe make one full sandwich-sized slice. So, paying a premium for a slice of cheese, a slice of meat and 5 crackers is crazy to me. So, I’ve started to make my own.
I buy my cheddar block from Costco and I shred most of it, but there are always little scraps that are too small to shred. So I cut those into small squares and keep for my kids’ makeshift lunchable pack. For the meat I take any lunch meat I have on hand and cut it into a proportionate size as well. For my crackers, I toast pita bread in the oven ( I get my pita from the international market for $.79 per bag of 6). I don’t even add oil, they just dry out and become deliciously crispy.
Kitchen Tip 2: Prep ahead
I don’t buy prepackaged or prepared food because the premium I would pay really adds up. Instead, I buy everything as whole and natural as I could get it and do a little prep work when I come home from the grocery store. I’m okay being a little less lazy once a week if it means I save anywhere between $10-$15 per week on my groceries. That saves me $40-$60 a month.
Kitchen Tip 3: Have a leftover meal day
We do this once a week. I absolutely hate throwing away food because it not only make me feel guilty for throwing away money, but it makes me feel ungrateful, knowing so many hungry people are out in the world wishing they could eat what I so easily throw out. To combat this, I declare one day a week (usually Thursday or Friday) a leftover day. This means I literally take out all of the leftovers of the week and heat it up for dinner that day. Our table is full of yummy food, we almost always finish everything up and have a lot less waste of food and money. This makes me feel so successful! Small win, but big happy feeling, haha.
Kitchen Tip 4: Cook once and eat all week
Best kitchen tip to try if you haven’t tried before. I used to do this every single week religiously, but I’ve let my laziness creep in a bit over the past few months. This is such a great tip if you don’t have a lot of time during the week to make dinners and end up frequenting the fast food drive-thru’s on those busy days. It literally eliminates that from your routine!
I used to cook 4 meals on Saturday and I had all 4 burners going and the oven, (sometime the slow cooker on pot roast days) and I could get it all done in about 2 hours or less. I cooked meals like stew, roast chicken, and casseroles to name a few. Once they were cooled, I’d stick them in the fridge and pull one out each afternoon when I got home from work. Then, I only needed to make a side dish that took 15-20 minutes while the main dish heated up. It was easier to eat good food at home and save a lot of time during the week (and save my wallet from the fast food monster)
Kitchen Tips 5: Pack lunch the night before
This is one is helpful on so many levels. It saves you time in the morning, when you’re already tired and scrambling to get out of the house. You have enough time to prep a good tasting lunch. It saves you money, since no matter how rushed you are in the morning, grabbing your lunch from the fridge takes 2 seconds, so there is no excuse to buy lunch out. Time and money savings, yay!
Kitchen Tip 6: Pre-pack snacks
I use this kitchen tip a lot for the kids. Lately, we’ve had a lot of after school activities that require us to go straight to the location without ever going home. My kids are usually starving and grumpy by that time (since I pick them up at 4:30 when I get off work). Ever since I’ve started packing some snacks, I have more pleasant little humans and the pressure is literally off my shoulders.
Who would have thought that such a small thing like packing snacks could alleviate a mother’s stress?
Whoever came up with the idea of pre-packing snacks is a pure genius, I tell ya. I pack things like carrots, clementines, lunchables (as mentioned above), light feta and cucumber sandwiches, etc. You’re probably wondering where I store them throughout the day. I take them with me to work and put them in the work fridge until it’s time for me to leave work and get the kids. It’s a no-fuss part of my day now.
Kitchen Tip 7: Schedule in 15 minutes of kitchen cleaning per day
This is the biggest pain and I get the biggest gain from it. I hate doing dishes, but I love seeing a clean kitchen. Who’s with me? It is so satisfying to prep and cook in a clean space and there is nothing better than leaving your house knowing your kitchen is perfectly clean and tidy. It really makes it easier for us to eat in when we have a clean kitchen.