Recent events in my family’s life have made us change the way we think about spending money each month. So instead of panic, we’ve decided to discipline ourselves to become better at being frugal to save money and not let anything go to waste. We started thinking about ways to cut down our costs and switch to a frugal family lifestyle for good.
For starters, I can be very resourceful and certainly do my part in really paying attention to how I use ingredients in the kitchen. Some examples: I make homemade breads, bagels and rolls for my family. If the bread doesn’t get eaten in a timely manner or if the ends dry out, I cut them off and use for bread crumbs to be used in making meat loaf or chicken nuggets or I can use the food processor and make my own croutons. Flour can be expensive if I’m not careful when researching prices. I already know when I purchase a 5 lb. bag at the big chain grocery store, it doesn’t seem to last long. But if I buy a 25 lb. bag at Walmart for just a little over $9.00, I can make it last the whole month.
My husband and I are huge coffee drinkers. After I make a pot of coffee, instead of throwing away the coffee grounds. I will pour them into our garden. Coffee grounds provide nitrogen to the soil and our garden will really benefit from it. I purchased extra ice cube trays a while back from the local thrift store so that when we have leftover coffee, we won’t throw it out. We will pour it into the ice trays and freeze for when we want iced coffee.
Potatoes are another staple in our house. When I fry or bake them up, it’s always with the skin on. When we have mashed potatoes, I will on occasion peel them but I will now make sure if I do peel them to throw the peels in our compost. Instead of wasting the water after I boil potatoes, I will save it in the fridge or freeze it. It can be used later in my soup recipes or bread making.
Another staple in my kitchen is onions. I’ve been known to forget and not think about saving the outer peelings and simply just tossing them out. I will now save them to be used in making my chicken broth and chicken stock. Same with any vegetables like carrots, celery, etc.
Instead of buying chicken breasts, I will switch back to purchasing a whole chicken at the grocery store. I can save the neck and other parts that my family doesn’t eat for making chicken broth. Leftover bones will be used in making my own chicken stock. I read that if I crack the bones I will get more minerals and nutrients into my stock from the marrow that is released.
Some of the recipes I make call for an orange or a lemon without the zest. So I will not waste anything. If I grate off the peelings and freeze them, I can use the zest in another recipe that calls for zest. We love bananas, but they do go bad if not eating in a timely manner. I will start paying attention more to freezing them and use them to make banana bread or banana muffins. The banana peels will just head off to compost. When I use eggs and crack them open, one thing I already do is rinse the eggshells, crush them than put them in our garden near the tomato or pepper plants. The calcium in the shells will help the vegetables.
Another frugal thing I’ve started to do is when my laundry detergent bottle or dish soap bottle is empty,I simply fill them up with water and save them. You can use the soapy water to wash dishes on a camp-out, etc. Just need to remember to think before we throw anything away. Keep this frame of mind–Think how can I use this item. I am sure you can think of a use for it.
Do you have any other suggestions? How does your family live frugally? I would love to hear them.