Running through the drive through or having dinner delivered is so easy. But those costs all add up quickly. If you’re trying to save money, cooking at home can be one way to do that. And it doesn’t have to be a huge sacrifice either. Regardless of your skill level in the kitchen, there are recipes out there that you can make.
Need a fix it and forget it dinner idea? Try this delicious Mississippi pot roast. You can throw it in the slow cooker and forget about it all day long!
One great way to start cooking at home is by packing your lunch. This could be as simple as leftovers from the week to start with. As you learn more and get more comfortable, you’ll become more adventurous and confident. After dinner, as you’re putting away your leftovers, pack them into containers that you can easily take for lunch. That way in the morning you can just grab what you need from the fridge and put it in your lunchbox. Don’t have leftovers? That’s ok! Make a sandwich (peanut butter and jelly is a classic go to) and add a couple of sides to go along with it. If your cooking skills are very limited, consider purchasing pre-packaged snacks (looking to save even more – grab regular sized bags of your favorite snacks and package them yourself in reusable baggies or containers) that you can grab and go. Using a container with compartments can keep everything together if you don’t want a bunch of separate containers (or your food to touch).
Plan ahead to cook at home
Knowing what you’re going to need for the next day (or week or month) will help on so many fronts. Take a look at what’s in your fridge, freezer, pantry, and garden. See what you’ve already got on hand before you start cooking at home. If there’s something that you need to get to make your meal, put in a grocery pickup or delivery order or plan to stop on your way home to grab it. Write yourself out a list or put it in your phone so that you don’t forget something you need or buy a bunch of extra stuff.
Spend Time Prepping Food to cook at home
One of the easiest ways to help me keep on track with cooking at home is do lots of prep to make life easier later. When you’re unpacking groceries, you can prep fruits and veggies before putting them away. Wash, peel, and cut what you’ll need for the week. This is also a great way for the kids to help too. Give them a scoop or measuring cup to help pre-portion snacks. If they’re a little older, let them help with the peeling and cutting (try knives like these to keep little fingers safe). One of the biggest ways I save time when I’m cooking is to batch cook. Basically, I try to spend one day a week doing a lot of the prep and cooking. That way when it’s been a long, busy day, I don’t have an excuse because dinner’s already prepped (or even already made!) and waiting in the fridge.
find recipes you love
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be expensive. There are endless options on Pinterest if you start to run out of ideas. When you’re looking for recipes, think about the tools you’ve got at home that you can use. Don’t let those slow cookers, pressure cookers, rice makers, air fryers, or indoor grills off the hook! You can use them all year long to cook at home and find new recipes to keep things fresh. Two of my biggest tips to save money when you’re cooking at home are to use what you’ve got and make what you’ll eat. If you’re buying food and it’s going to waste, that’s a waste of your money. Same goes if you’re making something and not eating the leftovers.
Recreate Your Favorite Meals
Why not have a little challenge? Try recreating some of your favorite restaurant meals when you’re cooking at home. The internet is full of copycat recipes to help you make most of your favorites right at home. Cooking at home is a great way to control what’s in your food and sneak in some extra veggies (if that’s a problem for your family). You can also put your own spin on some of your favorite recipes when you’re making them at home.
Make Cooking at Home Fun
Dinner doesn’t have to fall on mom’s shoulders every single night. At a certain point your kids can fend for themselves (no one’s ever died from having cereal for dinner because mom needed a night off…) and it’s ok to let them. Another way to help take some of the pressure off of making dinner (and to teach some important life lessons and let everyone appreciate just how hard it can be to make a meal) is to switch up different tasks. Let someone come up with dinner ideas while someone else helps or takes care of the prepping for the week. Get everyone in the kitchen to help with different parts of the meal so it’s not all falling on one person. Better yet – if everyone is a chef (or even if they’re not!), make it a competition! Give everyone ingredients (make it interesting by giving everyone different things to work with) and let them see what they can come up with. Just be sure everyone knows that they’ve got to eat whatever they wind up making. You might just find some new favorites!
With a little bit of planning, cooking at home can be something you look forward to instead of dreading.