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!