Friday, April 26, 2013

Fun Friday- Saving Money in the Kitchen- Drinks, mixes and Staples!

Welcome back!  Let's jump right in!

Sometimes our biggest money wasters in the kitchen are not necessarily the big ticket items like meat.  Sometime we can, as my mom says, nickel and dime ourselves to death on the little things.  Let's talk about some of those things and how they add up.

Packets of this and mixes for that!  Costly and not that good for you anyway.  Once again, you are paying more for the packaging than you are for what is inside, I promise. 
Remember- convenience= costly!

Taco seasoning- make your own!
Salad dressings- make your own!
Onion soup mix (my favorite)- make your own!
Ketchup and barbecue sauce (on my to do list!)- make your own!

Getting the idea?  Each of those things only require a few items that you probably already have in your pantry and are so much better tasting and better for you when made from scratch.  You can reason all you want that they only cost a few dollars, but trust me when I say it adds up quickly.  Buy large containers of things like spices, flour of your choice, vinegars and so on (use those coupons!) and whip up some magic in your kitchen.  You can do it!

And let's talk about drinks!  At the risk of getting pounded- juice is NOT that good for you.  Liquid sugar my nutritionist called it when I had gestational diabetes with my third pregnancy.  That and cokes are the two things she completely took away from me.  Until then my kids and I were big juice drinkers.  It's fruit, after all.  NOT!  If you want fruit, eat fruit.  So we have given it up completely.

HA, nope, not yet at least! ;)  Old habits die hard, after all.  But we have a one-glass-at-breakfast rule which saves a ton of money.  Check out the current prices for juice.  Ouch!  I buy natural versions, dye and high fructose corn syrup free, and only on sale.  If you find a good price, stock  up!  This is one area that coupons have helped me.  Then, limit the intake.

So what else do you drink?

Water.  Lots and lots of water.  We all have stainless water bottles that you would think are attached to us.  We carry them around the house and we take them wherever we go.  I just read a statistic a few days ago that said something like 71% of all people are dehydrated.  Not this family.  ;)

Specialty drinks. We do make Russian Tea and Hot Chocolate mixes from scratch in the winter as a treat.

Soft drinks.  ummm..."Hi, I am Michele and I was a coca cola addict."  And then diet coke. Ask any of my friends.  And just like any other addict, I have given them up and then gone right back to them.  This time around, since January, I gave them up again and this time I mean business.  Saving tons of money and my health.  Now, to just get my hubby off Mt. Dew!

Coffee and tea.  Don't worry,  I can see you shifting in your seat and getting defensive, so I will keep this short.  Walk away or keep it in check.  Again, it costs money to support our habits.  Easy for me to say since neither do I like, but money is money and if you need to save, sometimes we have to let go of the extras.

Milk.  Lucky for me I do not have a house full of big milk drinkers because it is costly.  But it is good for you and this is just one of those that I just close my eyes and try not to think about the price tag. 

And though I said I was done with meat, two quick things...
Don't beat your self up if you just cannot make a whole chicken stretch for three or four meals.  No biggie.  Can you do two?  Try just a main dish and a soup.  Even then, you are saving tons of money and have chicken broth to use as well.
Secondly, a friend pointed this out and I think it bears repeating- chicken thighs are an inexpensive alternative to breasts.  This is especially true of you are using the meats for things like soups and casseroles.  Don't keep buying the same thing and paying a fortune for it.  Try something new and see what happens.

OK, that's all for my Friday ramblings for now.  Two more weeks planned for this series and then I promise I will give you a break.  Until then, I challenge you to make one change in how and what you buy and  see what happens.  Then come back here and tell us how you did.  We want to know!

Happy Friday Friends,

This post is linked up with Caroline at The Modest Mom!


  1. I am interested to see your ketchup results! I would LOVE a healthier version of it since I have one who thinks she needs to dip everything in it!!

    1. Nicole, As soon as I try it, I will let you know. For now, we use one off the shelf that at least is high fructose corn syrup free. little step!!!

  2. I cut back on my drink expenses by making a rule that we can only have water to drink unless it's mealtime.

    1. That is a great rule Cristi Very doable for those who do not want to give up other drinks completely..........

  3. Your series has made me reevaluate our grocery spending. I am pleased to say that I only spent $138.42 for groceries this week. I started menu planning and it is all working out even though I feel like I spend hours in the kitchen cooking :)


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