Whether you're brand new to cooking or a seasoned vet, you'll save with these ideas

What Can You Do Now About Cooking?

by Steve and Annette Economides

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If you're wondering what you can do, right now, to start saving money by cooking smarter, try some of these suggestions from the book Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family. At the end of each chapter, the authors, Steve and Annette Economides, give readers several practical steps they can take right now. Their suggestions are divided into three levels: Timid Mouse (those just starting out on their frugal journey); Wise Owl (a little more experienced); and Amazing Ant (experienced tightwads). This is the closing encouragement from Chapter Five-Cooking That Will Save You Time, Money, and Sanity.

Timid Mouse

If cooking is a foreign language to you:

  1. Get a couple of beginner cookbooks. We like the Good Housekeeping Illustrated and Betty Crocker cookbooks best.
  2. When you do cook a meal, cook a double portion and freeze the excess for a future meal.
  3. Learn to use a slow cooker.
  4. Have a recipe swap with some friends to expand your cooking horizons.

Wise Owl

If you know how to cook, but need some encouragement:

  1. If you know someone who is especially adept in the kitchen, ask if you could prepare a meal together so you can learn a new recipe (and hopefully some time-saving tricks).
  2. Find a friend or friends who would be willing to participate in a meal swap or bulk cooking day (one or two weeks' worth of meals).
  3. Take stock of your kitchen tools and storage containers. If you are in need of more or better items, start looking at garage sales and thrift stores or put some of the items on your Christmas list.
  4. Review your spices and make sure you are fully stocked.

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Amazing Ant

  1. Plan and attempt to cook two weeks' worth of meals in a weekend.
  2. Start grinding your own beef.
  3. Keep track of the amount of food that you are throwing away and make it a goal to minimize the waste by shopping smarter, serving less, or storing it better.

This excerpt shares only a few of the hundreds of money saving ideas from the new book Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half with America's Cheapest Family (Chapter Five-Cooking that will save you time and sanity).

Steve and Annette Economides are New York Times best-selling authors and internationally recognized personal finance experts frequently requested on NPR and other radio programs. They have been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, ABC's 20/20, Fox TV's Your Life with Neil Cavuto, The Dr. Phil Show, and in Good Housekeeping, People, and Real Simple.

To learn more super practical ways to save tons of time and money, visit MoneySmartFamily.com.

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