I have been trying to do a better job of saving money and wasting less for a while now, but there is still room for improvement. Today, I’m doing an evaluation of my spending and green (or not so green) living habits in the kitchen so I can really see where I can improve. I’d love to hear how you save money and/or live green! Let me know in the comments. ^_^
I use my slow cooker once or twice a week but I need to find more inexpensive recipes, instead of mainly chicken.
Stephen bought me a new convection/toaster oven a few days ago so I can use it in place of the gas oven (as much as possible). I’ve noticed that it takes less time to preheat and I read that convection baking reduces cooking time by 30% on average, so I’m going to be using that feature for sure!
We wash dishes in the dishwasher but hand wash bottles, baby toys, sippy cups, etc. in the sink. Are we saving water, or using more than we need to? I don’t know. Which uses more, hand washing or machine?
Related post: Evaluating the Bathroom
I have sewn some cloth napkins and we use them for lunch and dinner, but we still use disposable napkins, plates and paper towels a lot. I need to sew or buy at least another twenty cloth napkins so we can use them all the time, not just at the two big meals. I don’t know what to do about plates – we use so many of them that paper is just easier. :/
We use a LOT of snack and sandwich bags every week between Stephen’s lunches and the kids’ snacks for on-the-go. I hate it! I would like to either make or buy on Etsy some reusable food bags but I’m unsure about the materials to use. I’ve read conflicting info on their safety.
I made cloth wipes to use for spills and they really do help reduce the number of paper towels we use. We have enough of the small size but I’d like to make maybe ten more, a little bit larger this time, to handle bigger messes.
We recycle cardboards and plastic bottles every week.
We eat leftovers, but because we have essentially four adults (two parents, two teens) eating, we don’t have as much left over as we used to. I need to make extra food to have as leftovers to solve this problem. Instead of making one pound of taco meat, I could easily make two, which would provide several more lunches for the week for Maggie and myself. Same with chili, casseroles, etc.
I still use a lot of cans, boxes, and packets. I need to learn how to make my own seasoning packets, mixes, etc. I’ve just started doing my own taco seasoning, so that’s a start! I don’t want to buy canned sloppy joe, boxed hamburger helper, or gravy packets anymore! The key to having homemade, I think, is to make up a bunch ahead of time, not while I’m trying to get dinner ready. :|
The same is true of some refrigerated items. I’d love to learn to make my own salsa, maybe someday learn to can fruit preserves and pickles…
I do bake my own desserts, though! With the exception of a few things my husband tends to buy when he runs to the store for me (cookies, pies, more cookies) *rolls eyes* we eat homemade. I know how to bake a wide assortment of treats, and all from scratch. And lest you think we’re eating cakes and pie every day, I assure you, we are not. lol
We eat out once a week for dinner. I’m happy with that number because we look forward to it and it feels special.
I grocery shop at WalMart mainly. I use the Savings Catcher program and we’ve gotten back just under $500 since starting a few years ago! All of that $$ has gone back into our shopping each week, so it really has saved us money. If you’re not doing it yet and you shop at WalMart, check out their website, it’s really easy to do. I also use coupons, but there aren’t many that actually get issued for the things we buy, so I don’t tend to save much with them. Every little bit helps, though! I use coupons.com to quickly browse and print them, not the newspaper. I end up saving more when I match BOGO offers at Publix with store and manufacturer coupons.
We also shop at Trader Joe’s every two to four weeks, depending on Stephen’s work schedule, holidays, etc. We love their stuff, but the food is more of a novelty and not what we actually “need” to be buying. I don’t need graham crackers or sweet pickles. ;)
I have grown a few vegetables (tomatoes, green pepper) in containers, but not since we moved to this new house. :( My goal this winter is to learn more about container gardening and to grow some fruits and vegetables next spring/summer.
Related post: Evaluating the Nursery
How do you save money, energy, and time in your kitchen?
And what are your best “green” kitchen habits?