The Little Things That Add Up

I was thinking the other day, as I puttered around in my kitchen, that I've adapted myself to doing a whole lot of little things to be frugal. I don't even think about it most of the time, because it's become second nature, but I'm sure that all of these seemingly small things add up to save money over the course of the weeks and months.

1) I substitute part water when dairy is called for. I do this whether it's milk, yogurt or kefir, and I will substitute up to 1/2 water. It works just fine in most baking recipes, and we can't even tell! (Thanks Crystal, for the original idea!)

2) I save all of my butter wrappers for greasing bread pans, muffin tins, etc. I simply fold them in half and store them in the door of my fridge. When I'm ready to use them, I just pull one out a few minutes before I need it (in warm weather) or pop it in my pre-heating oven or toaster oven for about 5-10 seconds to soften the butter. Not only do I save butter or oil, but they are so handy for greasing a tin and it saves me needing to use paper towels.

3) When there are ends of a loaf of bread that aren't being eaten, I grind them in my coffee grinder and freeze them for instant bread crumbs (this is especially great if you eat wheat free, as we do, to know that I always have wheat free bread crumbs on hand). I have also had the odd loaf of bread turn out a total dud, and into the bread crumb bag it goes! :)

4) Every single bone (beef, chicken, lamb,etc.) in this house is frozen and saved for making bone broths (see link below).

5) I save all onion, carrot and celery scraps and sometimes other
veggies, including onion skins (for that lovely yellow color), and add
them to a ziploc bag in the freezer to be dumped into the pot when I'm making bone broth.

6) I wash all of my ziploc bags, to be re-used again and again. My only exceptions to this are when they rip (obviously), or when they have held raw meat. I wash them in the sink with hot, soapy water, and put them upside down over large cooking utensils (mixing spoons, spatulas, etc.) to air-dry.

7) I'm currently experimenting with spending a little more on sharp, aged cheddar (rather than the mild or medium cheddar or colby I usually buy), to see if I can get by with using less in my recipes, in sandwiches, etc. My theory is that we tend to use larger amounts of cheese due to the mild taste, but would be just as satisfied with less cheese, providing it has that strong, cheesey taste that we love.

What are the little, fugal things you do in the kitchen that add up to keep costs low?

Find more tips for frugal living over at Life as Mom!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Many cellphones in our store, Nokia etc., many new – Motorola, Nokia, best price

  2. For drying ziploc bags, I’ve found a great method: Get an aloe vera plant to put by your kitchen sink. After washing them in soapy dishwater, rinse them, then hang the bags upside on the leaves. The water dripping from them is usually enough to keep it watered (they don’t need much) and aloe is great if you get a burn.

    Great tips and links.

  3. Fantastic ideas – we already use the ones you listed, but it’s always fun to see we’re not the only “weird” ones ;)

    I love Jodi’s idea about using cloth snack bags – plastic just makes me nervous in general, but it’s really hard to rinse warm raisins (!) out of a plastic baggie, so we usually just re-use til Moma gets disgusted and tosses it ;)

    Oh, and we cut our cheese consumption in half with the sharp cheddar, and I actually cured myself of “cheese snacks” (yes, I could eat an entire brick myself…) by buying the extra extra sharp. :)

  4. Great tips! Here are a few things I do.

    I checked out a couple vegan cookbooks from the local library, vegans cook without using any animal products. It is good to have a few of these recipes on “standby” if I run out of dairy or eggs and don’t want to run to the store or if I’m trying to clean out the pantry.

    Using cloth napkins is very important for me and my family in order to cut down on the disposables. I also try to use cloth handkerchiefs.

    Along the same lines as the cloth diapers I use cloth menstrual pads for myself. It was an initial investment of about $100 and I have been using them for over three years now. It has saved a ton of money.