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Everyone is looking to save some money, and you can start in your own kitchen. It’s as simple as making a few easy changes to your grocery shopping methods and cooking habits; your wallet will thank you.

Start by taking a look at your current grocery, meal-planning, and eating habits. How often do you eat out? If it’s more than once or twice a week, you’re likely to put yourself over budget. Not only is eating out more expensive than making food yourself, it’s usually not as healthy as the food you make for yourself.

Be vigilant when you go to the grocery store; you can save money without coupons. It may take an extra minute or two, but comparison shopping can save you significantly. The best way to save money at the grocery store is to not over-shop. Go in with a full stomach and a shopping list to avoid making spur-of-the-moment purchases.

There are some pantry items that you can make yourself, like spice mixes, which are often overpriced at the grocery store. Use cheaper cuts of meat like beef sirloin and ground beef, and don’t forget about chicken thighs and pork chops, which are affordable and flavorful. If you are using coupons, you may be able to use store coupons and manufacturers’ coupons on the same product for an extra discount.

The average household loses between $1,350 and $2,275 a year in food waste, which is where you can save the most money. Before you throw anything out, take a second to think about what else you can use it for. If it’s carrot ends or parsley stems, save them in the freezer and use as aromatics for a water-based soup. 

Using these and a few other tricks, you can save a significant amount of money each year.

  • 1. You’re Not Making Homemade Stock


    Keep the bones from chicken and save the tops from onions, celery leaves, and carrot scraps that don’t end up in whatever you’re preparing. Store them all in the freezer and make a big batch of stock whenever you save up enough.

  • 2. You Don’t Utilize the Whole Vegetable


    Some parts of vegetables aren’t as pretty as others, but that doesn’t make those parts inedible. Use every (edible) part of fruit and vegetable, like pepper tops and bottoms. Kale stems can be turned into pesto, and after removing the kernels, cobs of corn can also be used for stock.

  • 3. Unorganized Pantry/Fridge


    Visibility is key in the fridge and pantry. The items in the back will go bad if you don’t check on them. Store leftovers in clear containers for better visibility and do a weekly sweep of the fridge and pantry so you know what you already have before you go grocery shopping.

  • 4. Not Planning Your Meals Ahead


    Go to the grocery store with a plan; people tend to over-shop when they go in without a plan. Plan a week of meals ahead of time so you know what you need at the grocery story, rather than buying what you’re in the mood for at the moment.

  • 5. Tossing Stale Bread


    Don’t throw out those ends of bread that no one wanted to eat. Store leftover bread in the freezer and dice and toast them for croutons, or toast and pulse into breadcrumbs.

    See more habits that might lead to wasting food and money.

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