One of the easiest places to save money at home is in the kitchen. This does not pertain to freezing your credit cards or stashing cash out of sight in an empty food container in the cupboard. Frugal homemakers and chefs all across the globe know how to stretch every penny in the kitchen budget as if it were a pliable wad of bread dough.

One of the easiest changes that can save the average family several hundred dollars over the course of a year is to reduce (or eliminate) the number or times the automatic dishwasher is used. While it may mean using a little elbow grease, the most savings can be realized by washing dishes the old fashioned way. If such an idea is unthinkable, at least wait until this energy consuming, water wasting contraption is full before running it. This will save water and electricity, reducing expenditures for both bills.

In the summer, try to avoid heating up the oven to prepare meals. That extra heat that encompasses the kitchen only serves to make the air conditioning unit work harder. Of course this in turn burns up the old electricity bill in no time. Small families can easily make use of a toaster oven for a tray of biscuits, a pie, meat or even a casserole.

Speaking of casseroles, such dishes can be a very tasty and painless way to cut costs in the kitchen. One dish meals are quicker to cook, make using up leftovers a cinch, save time and generally use ingredients that are inexpensive. Since meat can be the most expensive item on the family menu, it is nice to know that preparing a casserole can help make it go a bit farther. Many casseroles can be prepared on the stove top, in the microwave or in a crock pot.

There are a myriad of ways to cut corners in the kitchen; it is unbelievable. Often times it is only about small changes. Switch to less expensive store brands whenever possible (not necessarily things like paper towels and aluminum foil, as twice the amount will be used due to the poorer quality). Chances are no one will ever know the difference in most cases.

Refrain from being wasteful when it comes to food. Place a container in the freezer and add to it left over vegetables, meats, gravies and the like. When it is full, pull it out and make a delicious and hearty pot of homemade soup. If bananas get too ripe to eat, toss them in a Ziploc bag (peel and all) and throw them in the freezer for banana bread, muffins, cookies and even pancakes. Get creative and find ways to use what is already there instead of shopping incessantly for groceries.

If ever in doubt, remember there are always ways to reduce spending. A number of them can be found while sitting at the kitchen table.

…© 2009 Angelia Hoffman