Tips on saving money are my thing. I’ll click on any article that gives me a beautiful and practical list on ways to save money. Because I like being mindful about how I spend what I earn. It makes all the difference when it comes to planning next year’s vacation or even if there’s something a little pricier that you need to invest in.
And for me, the BEST and EASIEST way to save money is by cooking more. It’s not about being stingy, it’s about choosing wisely where your hard-earned dollars go. If I can make my own oatmeal or overnight oats, you will not see me buying it at a store or ordering it for breakfast at brunch.
It’s just simple math. An entire bag of oats can cost between $3-$5. An oatmeal to-go for one can be around $2. You know how much oatmeal you can make with the bag of oats? Breakfast for weeks! And let’s not forget that it can also be made into oat flour to be used in COUNTLESS recipes. Well, you get the idea right?
Which is where THE PANTRY comes into play.
Your pantry is your little secret weapon to making delicious and nourishing meals. It is where you’ll find your grains, cereals, beans, legumes, spices and tons more. A properly stocked AND organized pantry will help you successfully whip up amazing meals. I say organized because you have to know what you got in there and be able to retrieve it safely without landing inside your pantry or on your behind. (Check out 6 Simple Steps to An Organized Pantry ).
So allow me to show you how your pantry can save you money…
This one is a pretty common tip. Make your own coffee/tea/matcha lattes. But I have to start with this tip because if you’re a regular coffee shop person, this is a place where you can VERY easily save over $50-100 a month. And that’s if you go basic. If you are a fancy coffee drinker, your savings will be much greater.
Will $100 make or break you? Not exactly. But add it up for the year and you got yourself a paid little getaway. And you’re not cutting out anything from your life. You’re still enjoying your morning cup of coffee. Just doing so homemade.
If you don’t currently have a coffee machine, you don’t even have to go fancy. There are plenty of affordable coffee machines that do a beautiful job of brewing your coffee. My current favorites are: French Press for regular coffee and Moka Pot for espressos. They are pretty inexpensive to buy and are a more sustainable way of making coffee since they don’t require filters or capsules.
For this tip, I’m also including other beverages. If you are a tea drinker, make your own. If you love enjoying lemonade, make your own. Do a quick inventory of the beverages you consume regularly and see if it’s possible to go the DIY route.
Although this is not technically “making”, we can’t forget about purchased water bottles. It’s time to ditch the plastic bottles my friends. They are not that great for us and especially not good for the planet. Not only is it extremely wasteful to drink daily out of plastic bottles. But did you know that if you leave your plastic water bottle out in the sun, the plastic can actually seep into your water? It’s not that a one-time thing dooms you, but it can add up and have long-term consequences. So let’s all join the responsible (water) drinker team and switch to a good reusable bottle that you LOVE!
I want you to take a moment to see how much you spend regularly on food and on what. Are you someone that eats out often? We know that there’s a cost to eating out and that makes sense. You are paying for the entire staff that made your dish come to life and not only for the basic ingredients. So making your own breakfast, lunch, and dinner will definitely result in great savings. And your pantry items will make that happen for you. More on that on tip 4.
What about your snacks? Do you often take snacks with you on the go? Snack bars and energy balls have become a big thing for a while now. Although pricing varies a lot here, the options with more wholesome ingredients will typically cost you about $2 per bar. Here’s the thing though. If you only knew how easy it was to make snack bars and energy balls, you’d jump right into the DIY boat. Many recipes include literally just adding a few ingredients into a food processor. That’s it!
Granted, the ingredients that make up snack bars usually are considered to be on the pricier end like almonds, dates, and cashews. You can however not only get these better priced in bulk, but you can use them in different ways. For example, almonds can be made into flour for gluten-free baking, almond butter, and plant-based milk. Cashews can also be made into milk along with plant-based cheese and cream alternatives. And dates, well, they are delightful on their own. Want a simple dessert idea? Add a little nut butter to a pitted date, top with cinnamon or cacao powder/melted chocolate. A delicious satisfying dessert!
Avoiding The Double Purchase + Make Cooking Easier
Let’s now dive into the part where we talk about the perks of having an ORGANIZED pantry. For starters, it’s the only way to always know what you have. You might have an idea of what you got going on in there. But if you can’t always see your items, you’ll easily forget that dusty can of tomatoes in the back. Meaning that when you hit the store, you’re going to duplicate items that you don’t necessarily need.
Knowing what you have, will also help you cook more and do so with ease. Your pantry is there to help YOU. So make things easier on yourself and find a system that works for you. This doesn’t mean buying a bunch of baskets and containers. This means identifying your flow and organizing your pantry accordingly. What are the items you use more often? Make those the most visible and accessible.
This tip has been a great money saver for me because not only was I the queen of buying things twice. I also would feel very overwhelmed looking at my pantry and would struggle more with sticking to cooking. Having a messy area and surrounding yourself with clutter can be very tough on the mind. So clearing your path, is a great solution to help you feel calm, centered, and consistent. And for me, cooking more comes with having an organized and functional pantry.
Avoiding Food Waste
I do love pantry items and can safely say that this is where all the action happens in most of my cooking. One of the great things is that they typically have a long shelf-life. Meaning that you don’t have to drive yourself nuts in the end of every week trying to use everything you bought. Another little perk of taking advantage of your pantry, is that these items tend to be cheaper than your fresh produce.
Don’t get me wrong, fruits and veggies are ESSENTIAL in our diet. So don’t miss out on those. But I purchase my weekly produce to complement what my pantry items are going to do for me.
Adding on-to what we’ve already talked about above, not knowing what you have and buying things twice is a recipe for letting things go bad. If you don’t know something’s there, if you don’t know that something’s about to expire, then there’s nothing you can do about it.
Food waste is a BIG environmental problem worldwide. It’s estimated that about 1/3 of the food produced ends up in the trash. Although food in general is biodegradable, it becomes infinitely more challenging to break down in the anaerobic conditions of landfills. Because the breaking down of food depends on microorganisms that require oxygen.
Food waste also hits you in your pocket. Because food that’s not being consumed and is tossed out, is money down the drain.
Put these tips to practice and see for yourself the difference it will make financially. Start by taking some time this week to give your pantry a little extra love! Make it work for you and your needs. Put some music that makes your soul sing, download 6 Simple Steps to An Organized Pantry and let the magic happen!
Organize Your Pantry In Just 6 Simple Steps!
Having a well-stocked and organized pantry is KEY not only to cooking more but also in doing so with ease. In this e-book, you’ll get a step-by-step roadmap to organizing your pantry in a way that will set you up for success in your kitchen!