Your Mama warned you about this
15 Things You Don't Want to Get Caught Doing in Your Kitchen
by Shari Smith
Before visions of frying food in hot oil while naked invade your mind, I'm talking about those everyday habits that can turn costly, not only for your pocketbook, but also for your health. Here's a look at what not to do in the kitchen.
- Throw away enough plastic, cardboard, and packaging that the recycling guy knows you by name. This is a clue you are using too many convenience foods and products.
- Use paper towels for every little spill. A dishcloth is better and can be thrown in the wash. Using a clean cloth frequently eliminates germs and smells.
- Pour a bottle of Drano down the drain. Besides being bad for the environment, a plumber told me it does little except erode the pipes, causing costly repairs.
- Shove all the groceries wherever they fit. Instead, practice the first in, first out rule, so you use everything before it expires. It also makes it easier to find items.
- Spend a fortune on name-brand products. Most store brands have identical ingredients at half the cost, especially baking items.
- Throw away coupons. That's like throwing money away! Use what you can and then swap coupons with friends or use a swap box at your local grocery store.
- Replace your countertops with the most expensive granite or marble. Besides the cost, it may be too heavy and your whole basement could need new footings. Look into resurfacing your counters instead for the exact same look but for an eighth of the cost. And, it's easier on the environment.
- Throw away leftovers. Many second or third meals can be combined from leftovers, saving you time and money. If you are stuck for ideas, put "recipe" and your main ingredients in a search engine. Tons of recipes will appear.
- Cook everything from a mix, box, or frozen tray. The less processed your food is, the healthier and less expensive it is. For easy recipe ideas, go online or ask your Mom, Grandma or Grandpa.
- Just wing it when you go to the store. If it looks good, buy it! That's a good way to blow your budget. Try matching the sales ads with coupons and what you need. Plan meals around the sales and save a lot. Make a list and stick to it.
- Save money by only buying what you need. This only sounds smart. It's better to stock up when the things you regularly use are on sale. Get enough to cover the six-week cycle most products are on. Then you never have to pay full price.
- Get a different cleaner for the stovetop, sink, floor, dishes, stainless steel, cabinets, and windows. Don't harbor a chemical factory in your kitchen! Use natural cleaners like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and mild dish soap. Your kitchen will be sparkling and healthier for your family, not to mention your healthy bank account.
- Throw away food with an expired sell-by date. This number is misleading and might cause you to needlessly throw away thousands of dollars of food a year. Instead, use common sense. If it looks or smells bad, toss it. Most canned goods, condiments, some boxed meals, and unopened baking goods are fine. Eggs can be tested for freshness. An old egg will float in water, while a fresh one sinks.
- Run all over town to get the best buys each week. Combine all your errands in one trip by price matching. Most stores do this, especially Walmart. Some stores like Lowes, Menards, Best Buy and some furniture stores even give you an additional 10% off. I save hundreds of dollars a year by price matching, as well as saving time and gas.
- Throw away rotten food. Remember to use up fresh produce first, and freeze what you can't use right away. Don't buy 20 pounds of carrots just because it's ten cents cheaper than the two-pound bag. Also rotate items in your freezer so that forgotten roast or package of hamburger doesn't get old and freezer burnt. Separate large portions into smaller packages, so they get used in a timely manner.
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For years, people have been telling us what we should do in the kitchen. I think it's just as important to know what NOT to do in the kitchen. Now go and don't do these things!
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Reviewed November 2017
Take the Next Step:
- Know when and how to stockpile groceries.
- Never overspend for store-bought cleaners again. Use The Dollar Stretcher's Guide to Homemade Cleaners to find frugal, effective recipes for keeping your entire house and laundry clean and fresh.
- Don't throw those leftovers away because you're not sure what to do with them. Discover savvy ways ways to use them up.
- Take the TDS Pantry Challenge. Clean out that pantry, fridge and freezer and see how much extra cash you can free up this month!
- Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
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