Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Fresh, Frugal Start In The Kitchen

With this new year comes the chance to start fresh with life.....of course one can always start fresh at any time of the year, but there's something symbolic about the calendar date reverting back to January 1 that makes one feel as if there's a blank slate to be filled with the right choices.

"Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it!"
--Anne of Green Gables

Gym memberships peak in January as people rush to get started on those New Year's Resolutions.  Diets get started.  Exercise equipment is purchased.  How many stick with it and see it through past February though?

You know you're guilty!  I am too.  But at least the intentions are good, right?

But one way I'm REALLY trying to start fresh with this year is frugality. 

I admit it, I've historically been a spendthrift, living outside of my means with no real conception of how to manage my finances.  I mean, I read about frugality all the time and visit multiple websites dealing with how to spend less.....but applying it to my life is another story altogether. 

This year I want to move beyond just abstract knowledge, to concrete doing.  Husband is much more frugal and self-disciplined than I so I know I won't have a problem with him being on board with fact he'll probably read this and breathe a sigh of relief that I'm finally seeing the light! 

My biggest offense on the frugality front is with food and wine.  I've written before how I'm trying to cook more from scratch for health reasons....but even that can get expensive!  And then there's the fact that many days, both my husband and I are too tired/stressed/annoyed/lazy to be bothered with trying to cook something and cleaning up afterwards, so we opt for take out.  This has got to stop, for obvious reasons.  The scale numbers are going up, while the contents of our bank account are going down.  D'oh, indeed.

Much of the problem lies with me just not being organized enough in the kitchen.  I want to work on cooking more in bulk and making my own "convenience" meals that I could whip out on days I don't want cooking to be a major production. 

What are your favorite ways to be frugal in the kitchen?  Have any tried and true tips, or simple meal planning ideas?  Share your thoughts in the comments!


  1. I'm frugal in the kitchen by letting my husband do all the cooking! Seriously, he's a MUCH better cook than me and cooks in bulk so we have food the entire week instead of cooking every night. He'll make three meals on a Sunday and then we're good for the week. Love it!

  2. I spend waaaaaay too much on food. But one cheap and easy meal I make all the time is pasta with soup "sauce". I buy big carton of soup (the pureed vegetable kind that is thick and creamy) and use that as a pasta sauce. Takes about 10 minutes to make and having butternut squash sauce seems a lot fancier than plain tomato.

  3. i agree with the cooking in bulk idea - to a point

    we generally make 4 serves whenever we cook (there are 2 of us) so we can have it 2 nights. but perferably not 2 nights in a row or it can become boring (hence not making super huge amounts and end up eating it for a month)

    this also helps for those nights when you are too tired to cook as the dinner is already ready to go.

  4. I'm frugal in exactly the same way as Melissa!! I just finished a lovely piece of chicken that DH cooked, yum!

    We are having a new freezer delivered on Friday and my hope is that this will help us save money in the food department.


  5. Yeah....I can't cook. Just no interest in it. Once you get past open the can or microwave..youve lost me! Okay I can do a bit more than that!

    But I do love that you referenced Anne of Green Gables - one of my favorites.

    You miss quoted it it.

    "Tomorrow is fresh - with no mistakes in it...well not yet anyway!"

    Haha Im such a pessamist...but I work with 4 year olds and SOMEONE is bound to make a mistake! ;)

  6. Melissa: Lucky you! :) My husband can heat up a can of soup and that's about it. I keep threatening to teach him to cook!

    Kate: That's a great idea, I never would have thought of that!

    Elsie: I do try to make enough for supper to eat for lunch the next day....the problem is getting ourselves to actually eat the leftovers! ;)

    Jackie: I would so love to have a deep freeze.....enjoy your new one!

    SassyGinger: Ahhh....thank you for correcting me! :) I *love* the Anne books too!

  7. I cook in bulk. It takes a little planning, but it works well for us. Most of what I cook (my wife doesn't cook) goes straight in the freezer in the form of "convenience meals" which you can just nuke.

    I try to make sure there's variety--about 4-5 different meals in the freezer at any one time--so we don't get bored. It takes a little planning and a little effort at the beginning. But once the system is up and running, I've found I can get away with cooking dinner once every week or two.

    Cooking in bulk also helps cut your grocery bill and reduce wastage from the fridge. Also, I seem to snack less often (which saves money *and* makes my waistline happy!). :)

  8. I LOVE cooking from scratch! I buy ingredients in helps to keep costs low. :)

  9. Good luck with your frugality plans, Betsy! It can be really difficult. We go through phases. We will be super lazy for a long time, ordering in or just making the most boringly simple things with no fresh veggies or anything, then swing around the opposite way, and everywhere in between. It can be really tough to cook at home healthfully and inexpensively! I sometimes toy with the idea of doing something like cooking several things on a Sunday to get us through the week when we're just tired and lazy.


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