Home Management: 5 Steps to Frugal Living in the Kitchen

parentinghome management

A kitchen, with all its gadgets and gourmet food, has the potential to take up more than its fair share of your family's budget. But, taking simple steps can equal large savings, helping you move closer to adopting a frugal living lifestyle.

Kitchen-Bowls-Spatula-Muffins-Baking From Scratch

In this, part two of our four-part series on frugal living, we will dive into sharing advice about being frugal in the kitchen from Amy Allen Clark's recently published book "The Good Life for Less: Giving Your Family Good Meals, Great Times, and a Happy Home on a Budget." Last week in post one, we shared 10 tips for creating and living on a budget. Upcoming posts, parts three and four will cover creating good times through a strong sense of tradition and family closeness and home organization.

Amy Allen Clark With Maria LichtyWhen talking about the frugal kitchen, Amy says:

I have a confession to make. There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought beef stew was something invented by a guy named Dinty Moore—and not only did he invent it, he must have had a patent, because, honestly, how often had I ever encountered beef stew out of a can?

Let's just say I've come a long way since then ... These days, I plan tasty, healthy meals and snacks for my family, and I make pretty much everything from scratch. My transformation didn't happen because I'd always wanted to be like Martha Stewart. It started because our household suddenly became kind of poor—and we cut the take-out and quick-prepare meals I'd always relied on from our budget. Food is one area where I quickly discovered there's a lot of fat, so to speak, to trim.

Before I provide some of Amy's awesome advice, let me share that one thing I love about this book—aside from the fabulous tips—is her writing voice. This book is FUN to read! I know! Fun? What? But, I have known Amy (shown above with Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod) for nearly 4 years and she seemingly effortlessly transferred her personality onto the pages of this book. Her voice, coupled with her experience, makes her tips approachable, accessible, not to mention credible.

But on to the tips...

5 Tips to Running Your Kitchen on a Budget

I never would have thought of my kitchen as a place that was consuming an overly large portion of my family's budget, but after reading Amy's book, I can see that I am so guilty of NOT living a frugal lifestyle where my kitchen is concerned.

Wisk and Milk-Cooking From Scratch True confessions? I eat out way too often. When I do cook, I don't always cook from scratch. I go grocery shopping without a list and way too many times in a given week or month. The gadget and appliance section always catches my eye, which is a safe bet that I'll end up with new kitchen tools. I mean, who doesn't need spatulas galore? They come in so may sizes and fun colors! And don't even get me started on Costco. How many more serving dishes must I buy? But they are all so beautiful and such a great deal, right?

I love the tips Amy shares in her book. Here are a few that will help make a difference in your pursuit to spend less money in the kitchen:

    1. When you head out to go grocery shopping, never leave home without a budget, cash, and a calculator.
    2. "Choose your deals." Don't shop at high-end grocery store chains, do shop at stores that price match, and buy generic labels.
    3. "Clip coupons." A lot of people feel iffy about clipping coupons. Here's one word of advice Amy shares:
      If an item is on sale in [the store's] flyer, look to match it with a coupon from the same week's circulars. Choose a market that takes double coupons, and you'll be in the same league with the Extreme Couponing queens."I, personally, find clipping coupons or even comparing flyers and circulars, painful. But, I love online or discounts on apps. Going digital, even though it takes the same amount of time, seems a little less painful than the traditional way of clipping. So, if clipping coupons or flyers don't work for you, try apps like Coupon Sherpa or Coupon Manager.
    4. "Save on foods." Amy shares fabulous tips in this section about saving on meat, sandwich meat, eggs, whole fruits and vegetables, bakery items, milk and more. She also encourages to buy in bulk, make meals from scratch, and make your own baby food.
    5. "Freeze." Having a well organized or a storage freezer gives you a way to store much of the food you buy in bulk.

In her book, she has many call-out sections with advice or stories. Here is one of my favorites from this section:

You Do the Math, Pizza Night

Since I make my own pizza dough from bulk ingredients and homemade sauce, I actually only spend about five dollars on the makings of each Friday pizza night. If we ordered pizza each week instead of making it, we'd spend roughly twenty dollars, even with a coupon. I've been making pizza every Friday for five years: that's thirty-six hundred dollars in pizza savings—a lot of dough, if I do say so myself!

How to Achieve the Good Life for Less

For recommendations on living the good life for less, including how to create and live on a budget, steps to take to adopting a frugal living mindset in the kitchen, creating good times through a strong sense of tradition and family closeness, and organizing your home, check out the posts in this series as well as Amy's book, which you can find at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon, Powell's, and IndieBound.

  • 10 Tips for Creating and Living on a Budget

Also, check out our free meal planning printable. You can download the printable below. Or, subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to get our latest eBook to help you get active and healthy with your kids, including planning healthy meals. Click here to subscribe!

Click to download the Meal Plan Printable.


Photos courtesy of Flickr, Justin Hackworth Photography, and Flickr(2).


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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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