How many kitchen mistakes do you think you make?
Whether you want to have more money to buy something you had your eyes on for a while, invest it or travel, you might be thinking of all the ways on how you can save some extra cash.
You might’ve decided to go out less often, purchase only the things you need, or buy food from the grocery store. Speaking of food and groceries, there are actually some mistakes people make when it comes to the way they “manage” their kitchen.
You might think that you’re saving a lot of money since you’re always buying your products from the store, but there are still a few things you need to be aware of.
If you want to save some extra cash and make more sustainable and economic choices, here are 19 kitchen mistakes that are costing you money.
1. You Don’t Plan Ahead
Alma Schneider, founder of the blog and consulting company Take Back the Kitchen says that one of the biggest kitchen mistakes people make is the fact that they don’t plan ahead.
Having a basic idea of what you want to eat for the week will help you use up the fresh ingredients you already bought before they go bad. And you can also reuse the leftovers from one dish and transform them into something else.
This will help you save money and prevent you from buying unnecessary things at the supermarkets. If you aren’t sure what you want to eat for dinner and you don’t have enough ingredients at home, you might be tempted to make last-minute decisions, such as ordering out.
2. You Go Out For Coffee
Treating yourself with a nice cup of hot and steamy coffee every once in a while isn’t going to break the bank, but going to a coffee shop every single day won’t make your wallet happy.
You will save a lot of money if you buy coffee from the grocery store and you brew it at home. You can add milk, sugar, cream, or syrups, and you will still save a lot of money in the long run.
3. You Order Out
As much as you might like to order food and forget about doing the dishes, too much of it adds up pretty quickly. In conformity to a 2018 study done by Forbes, ordering out could be worth five times as much as cooking the same dish at home (this doesn’t include the tips).
Even delivery kits that send you ingredients for you to put a meal together cost roughly three times as much as shopping and cooking yourself.
If you have no idea where to start, you can purchase a cookbook that has several delicious and nutritious recipes. It might take longer when you cook for yourself, but you will enjoy it more and you’ll also save a lot of money! Win-win!
4. You Don’t Properly Store Your Produce
One of the reasons why food goes bad in the fridge in such a short amount of time is because people don’t know the proper way to store it.
For instance, wrapping fragile veggies or greens, such as lettuce and herbs in a paper towel and putting them inside of a resealable bag or in a glass container will keep them fresh for longer.
5. You Don’t Use Your Freezer
A fully-stocked freezer is people’s right hand when it comes to eating healthy and on a budget. Not only is freezing great for storing bulk purchases, but it’s also a good way to preserve different types of products or foods that are about to go bad.
If you store them properly, you can freeze a lot of foods and then take them out when you need them. Bread, fruits, some vegetables, soups, leftover pasta sauce, and cookies, are just a few of the foods that can be put in a freezer without any problems.
I don’t know about you, but every time I go to the grocery store I try to stock up on vegetables, fruits, fish, or meats to add to the freezer and eat them when I feel like it.
It saves me a lot of money and time when I have nothing in the fridge and I want something simple, quick, healthy, and still affordable.
6. You Don’t Use Your Leftovers
Several studies have discovered that two out of five people hate consuming leftovers. We have no idea why they think so, but we think leftovers are absolutely great.
You can enjoy your last-night dinner pasta for lunch the next day, or you can use the ingredients that remained for a new meal.
For instance, if you cooked too much rice and you don’t know what to do with it, you can easily transform it into a nice bowl of rice salad with vegetables and tuna.
Get creative and think of new ways you can use your leftovers, instead of throwing them out! This kitchen mistake will cost you a lot of money, so you better avoid it!
7. You Buy Ingredients For One Meal At a Time
Another way to avoid making a huge kitchen mistake is to buy in bulk when you go to the grocery store. Think of frozen vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, and even pie, if you like to eat it and store them in the freezer.
You can also purchase fresh produce and store them in proper containers in the freezer. Buying in bulk means less packaging, so you’ll save a few bucks from there as well. These foods will last you a longer period of time, so you can use them as needed.
8. You Buy Off-season Produce
Strawberries and blueberries in January might sound like a great treat, but you will pay a lot for them.
When you shop for products that are in season, you will save a lot of money and the food will have a better taste, since what you’re getting has been grown naturally, not in a greenhouse from somewhere else in the world.
If you find yourself reaching for fruits and vegetables that are no longer in season, you can buy them when it’s their time and store them in the freezer. You will have some spare money and you’ll enjoy your favorite produce every time you feel like it.
9. You Let Your Food Go Stale
Your pantry snacks, such as biscuits, boxes of cereal, and bags of chips will go stale pretty quickly if their packaging is left open. If you don’t want to restore them in airtight containers, you can simply add a bag clip to keep the food nice and fresh.
…Trust us, these small things will prevent you from throwing out food that can still be eaten!
10. You Like To Buy Convenience Food
Another kitchen mistake people make and it cost them a lot of money isn’t just what they buy, but how they actually buy it. For instance, instead of buying sliced pineapple that comes in a sealed-off container, you’d better buy the whole fruit.
It might be more convenient and it will take you less time to prep the food, but the overall purchase will be cheaper and you’ll also have more quantity of the product to work it.
If you still want something that is more convenient, you can meal prep on a Sunday and slice your fruits or your vegetables then. After that, store them in clear containers in the fridge, so they’re ready when you want to eat them.
11. You Purchase Single-use Supplies
Instead of constantly buying paper towels, you can use fabric or microfiber cloths to replace them. They are better for the environment and you can clean them in the washing machine when you do laundry.
Another tip you can try is to reuse the plastic bags you get after each grocery shopping trip. You can rinse them if they’re dirty and reuse them after. Trust us, your wallet will be very happy with your new attitude!
12. You Waste Water
Many people think that hand-washing the dishes will help them save water and money, but the reality is actually different. For instance, if you have a dishwashing machine at home, don’t be afraid to use, it because it might help you out with your savings.
You can increase the amount of money you’re saving by running a full load of dishes. Besides that, you can also turn off the heat-drying part of the cycle, to save energy and let your dishes air dry.
If you use an efficient detergent, you can forget about the pre-wash, so you’ll have more time to meal prep! Win-win situation!
13. You Don’t Take Care Of Your Knives
Knives are one of the most important utensils that can be found in someone’s kitchen, but the majority of times, people don’t take care of them and they end up buying new ones sooner than necessary.
One thing you can do and protect the life of your knife is to frequently tune it up using a honing steel. You should do that every five to six times you use the knife, in order to maintain the sharpness longer.
The less you do this, the harder it will be to bring the edge back, so you might need to go to a professional to do it for you. As you can imagine, this isn’t very cheap, so people usually end up replacing the blades.
Another thing you can do is to hand wash your knife and properly dry it afterward (not air drying). After that, protect your knife by using a sheath.
There are some cutlery manufacturers who suggest that traditional knife blocks are not very suitable because the friction that occurs between the blade and the wood can actually make the knife edges dim slowly.
14. You Eat a Lot Of Meat
…Did you know that people who eat plant-based tend to spend less money on food (that applies only if they don’t buy packed plant-based foods and stick to natural ingredients)?
Several studies have discovered that people who incorporate more plant-based meals in their diets actually save more than $745 per year.
This doesn’t mean that you should completely cut meat out of your diet, but trying recipes that don’t require large quantities of meat will definitely help your budget.
15. You Don’t Store Your Grains Properly
Many people don’t know that their grains go bad because they don’t know the proper way to store them. If you like to eat flaxseed and want to keep them fresh for longer, you should store them in your fridge, because they contain oils that can easily go moldy.
Bread, on the other hand, doesn’t do well in the refrigerator, so you should keep it on your kitchen counter. Keep in mind that one food item that you should always keep in its original packaging is cheese.
16. You Neglect Your Cookware
Nonstick pans are great, but you can easily ruin them if you don’t use the proper utensils. You shouldn’t use steel tools or aerosol sprays on your nonstick skillet if you want to keep it for a longer period of time.
Another thing people usually do and ruin their pans is dunking them in hot water before letting them cool down first. If you want to use something that is more durable, you better choose cast iron skillets.
As long as you properly season the food, they will be nonstick and you can use them for baking as well.
17. You Don’t Take Care Of Your Appliances
Many people forget that all their kitchen devices should be taken care of, just like they would do with their cars. Taking care of them and repairing them when needed will add years to their life span and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
So make sure you keep your kitchen appliances in good shape and read the instructions written in the user’s manual in order to know how to properly clean them.
18. You Purchase Bottled Drinks
Several studies have discovered that Americans spend more money on bottled drinks compared to food at grocery stores. They might not seem very expensive at first, but consuming a fizzy drink every single day will definitely add up and you’ll spend a lot of money in the long run.
There are people who say that you can actually make your own carbonated drinks at home, with the help of a particular machine. This device produces bubbly drinks at the cost of less than $1 per liter.
If you want a machine like this, make sure to do your research before buying one!
If you need an extra reason why you shouldn’t spend your money on fizzy bottled drinks is the fact that they will affect your health and also your waistline. Your body will start craving more and more of it and we already know that too much sugar is not very good for us.
In addition to that, drinking too many fizzy sodas will affect your teeth, which means that you will end up spending a lot of money in the dentist’s cabinet.
19. You Throw Things Out Because Of The Best By Date
No one wants to risk getting food poisoning, but according to several studies, the expiration dates on food labels don’t actually mean that they’re no longer safe to eat.
In conformity with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, unless it’s baby formula, you can still eat the food after the expiration date, but only if it looks and smells good and if you properly store it.
On the other hand, make sure you do your research before trying this at home and if you have further questions about this topic, you can always contact the FSIS virtual representative or the USDA directly, via email, phone, or even live chat.
To sum up this article, we can say that if you want to save some extra money and also avoid these common kitchen mistakes that many people make, you should respect the tips we’ve previously talked about:
Plan your meals for the week, buy in bulk and store your products in the freezer, don’t purchase fruits and vegetables that aren’t in season. And try eating a few plant-based meals throughout the week, and avoid buying too many fizzy drinks.
…If you need more tips about health conditions or lifestyle in general, make sure to check this article out: 12 Natural Remedies That Reduce Constipation!