Kitchen Tips

10 Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste and Save Money

how to reduce kitchen waste and save money
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Reduce Kitchen Waste and Save Money

This week I am going to talk about waste in the kitchen.   We all have good intentions when it comes to this, but sometimes waste happens anyways.  Here are a few ways to help you reduce kitchen waste and save money at the same time.

  • compost
  • homemade stock-save bones veggies
  • lemons in garbage disposal, clean grill, zest first
  • stale bread?  make croutons
  • concentrated cleaners- buy one for house
  • meal plan
  • utilize leftovers for new meal
  • freeze leftovers
  • shop more often and buy in smaller quantities
  • clean out the fridge day

 

Compost

This may or may not be something you already do.  If you garden, or even have house plants, this is an awesome way to reduce waste and put it towards great use.  Any type of non processed food (like fruits and veggies) can be composted.  In addition, egg shells, coffee grounds and filter, paper, grass clippings, leaves, twigs are also compostable.  If you are composting outside it makes sense to include the grass and leaves.  If you are using an indoor composting bin then stick with the fruit and veggie scraps as well as your coffee grounds.  In 5-6 weeks you will have an amazingly nutrient dense compost material to add to your plants.  This will help them thrive as it delivers an intense shot of nutrients for the plant.  Just like that, BAM!  No more buying plant food!  Mix this compost in with soil when planting new plants or add to your garden.

Homemade Stock

A great way to use veggie scraps is to make stock.  Next time you cut up celery, carrot, or onion add them to a bag and pop them into the freezer.  When having a chicken (bone in) save the carcass.  Once you are ready to make your stock use the veggie scraps and carcass from the freezer.  Add some herbs and seasonings.  Voila, homemade stock!  Better than anything you can buy in the store.  And it is so much cheaper to make at home!  Who doesn’t love to save money and have better quality ingredients for their food?

Lemons

Lemons are so multi-functional.  Their juice and zest are flavorful additions to your food.  In addition, they are excellent to have on hand for tough cleaning jobs.  Need to clean the grate on your grill?  Grab a lemon!  The acid helps eat away the cooked on messes.  Save that elbow grease for another job!  Need to clean that garbage disposal?  Throw a lemon down the disposal and let it do its magic.  Not only will it smell wonderful but it will help clean and sanitize as well.  If you are only utilizing the juice then be sure to zest your lemons and freeze for later uses.

Stale Bread

We have all bought the huge french loafs at the store only to eat a 1/3 of it at dinner.  The problem is, day old bread can begin getting stale.  Solution?  Make homemade croutons.  Cube up the bread and drizzle olive oil and your favorite seasonings.  Bake in oven and you have your own batch of homemade croutons.  One less item on your grocery list!  And one less item wasted and thrown away.

Concentrated Multi-Use Cleaners

The days of having a separate cleaner for every room and item in your house are over.  Get a great concentrated multi use cleaner and a few spray bottles and you are good to go.  I use doTerra’s On Guard concentrated cleaner.  For about twenty bucks I can mix this at different strengths and clean my bathroom, kitchen counters, kitchen table, high chair, and even mop my floors.  Space saver and money saver.  Even better?  It’s natural so you don’t have to worry about your kid eating off something cleaned with bleach or covered in Lysol.  Oh, and this stuff smells amazing!  No more huffing toxic fumes.  It really is a win all the way around.  The bottle lasts a long time too.  Mine is over a month old and only about 1/4 of the bottle has been used.

Meal Plan

Meal planning can go a long way in saving you money and reducing your kitchen waste.  Decide what you will cook and reuse ingredients strategically.  Have a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup chopped celery?  Make something else to utilize the rest of the bunch so it doesn’t get thrown away.  This can seem difficult at first but it becomes much easier over time.  Even if you just plan something simple like ants on a log as a snack to use that extra celery you have accomplished your goal!  A little planning goes a long way!

Create New Meals with Leftovers

This is one of my favorites.  To be honest I hate leftovers.  Eating the same thing days in a row is so boring!  SO, use the leftovers to create something new.  For example, if you roast a chicken on Sunday and don’t eat it all don’t fret.  We can turn that leftover chicken into a yummy chicken salad to nosh on for lunch or make some chicken soup in the crock pot for dinner the next day.  The possibilities are endless.  Don’t settle for boring leftovers!  Get creative and make something new!

Utilize Your Freezer

If you are making lasagna (or anything else) and don’t finish the meal you don’t have to eat lasagna for a week!  Keep freezer safe storage options on hand and freeze your leftovers.  Not only are you saving yourself from a week of glutinous pasta eating, you are also creating a freezer meal for a night when you simply don’t have time to cook.  The freezer is your friend!  We purchased a deep chest freezer at Lowe’s Hardware for about $100 and it was well worth the investment.  It has saved us countess nights of pizza or takeout, which, lets face it, is bad for us and our wallets.  Within 2 months I think the freezer easily paid for itself.

Shop More Often and Buy in Smaller Quantities

I’ll be up front.  This is the hardest item on this list for me to follow.  I really don’t have time to go to the store multiple times a week.  But, if I do suck it up and go a few times rather than 1 large trip, I save myself a ton of waste.  Produce doesn’t go bad because we couldn’t eat it quick enough.  I ask my husband to pitch in for this task.  I text him a list to grab on his way home from work.  Be careful though, make a list and stick to it!  This can get out of hand financially if you are making impulse buys multiple times a week.  Find a routine that works for you.

Clean Out the Fridge Day

This is the day everyone may be eating different meals but that’s OK!  Cut back waste and save yourself a night of cooking by eating the random leftovers one night.  Perfect tactic for busy and tiresome days too!

 

You will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to reduce kitchen waste and save money.  Happy savings!!

35 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa
    July 12, 2017 at 7:34 am

    We do most of this! I haven’t ever thought about freezing leftovers though.

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 12, 2017 at 7:59 am

      Some recipes freeze better than others, but most will do just fine.

  • Reply
    Nicol Living
    July 12, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Great advice. So simple. Things everyone can do easily.

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 12, 2017 at 7:58 am

      Yes, simple is best. Small, consistent efforts really add up!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    July 12, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Declutter, declutter, declutter – it will make the rest that much easier!

  • Reply
    Ayanna @ 21FlavorsofSplendor
    July 12, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Great tips! I need to start having clean out the fridge days. I hate having to throughout food because I forget it’s in there.

  • Reply
    Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries
    July 12, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I love to prep meals and freeze them for later dinners. I also love the suggestion of having concentrated cleaners – I need to try one out!

  • Reply
    Meg
    July 12, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    these are great tips – i am slowly learning to meal plan and then actually stick to the plan! this has saved us lots of money and we don’t waste food as much because we buy only what we need.

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 12, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Meal planning gets easier! Soon it will be second nature 🙂

  • Reply
    dixya @food, pleasure, and health
    July 12, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    i do a lot of clean out meals at the end of the week and it works really well .great tips.

  • Reply
    Jordan | Read. Eat. Repeat.
    July 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Good ideas! I would also add that you don’t have to throw out milk, yogurt, or sour cream as soon as it goes out of date. As long as it’s just sour and not like growing mold or something you can still use it for baking since it gets well cooked!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Awesome tips! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Felicia @ The Starving Chef
    July 12, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I’ve been wanting to start a compost pile – I feel like there’s so much organic material going to waste!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 13, 2017 at 7:24 am

      Your plants will love the compost!

  • Reply
    Annette Dattilo
    July 13, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Love your suggestions. I definitely struggle with waste simply because I have intentions of making certain meals, but busy life gets in the way. Thanks for sharing these tips.

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 13, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      You are not alone 🙂 I share the same struggles. Sometimes life just takes over for a bit!

  • Reply
    Liz
    July 14, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Yay composting! I’ve been composting for a couple years now, and I’ve got a couple cucumber vines that are thriving this summer with some fresh compost 🙂 Oh, and for really good quality bread that’s gone slightly stale…mmmmm French toast!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 6:32 am

      French toast is a great idea! Enjoy those yummy cucumbers!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    July 14, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I’m into the whole reusing and recycling thing 🙂

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 8:07 am

      It is a great strategy!

  • Reply
    Tanvi
    July 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I need to implement some of these tips. Thanks for sharing. We can all try and do a little better in terms of wastage.

    ❥ tanvii.com

  • Reply
    Payton
    July 14, 2017 at 9:26 am

    i loved this article and knew it would be so useful the second I saw the heading! I know what I’m doing with my extra lemons the second I get home from work!!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Yay! Lemons are a staple in my kitchen. They are so versatile! They even clean corrosion yuckiness from old batteries in toys…

  • Reply
    susie
    July 14, 2017 at 9:37 am

    I LOVE the idea about stale bread, I hadnt thought about that one! Currently we freeze leftovers, and they sit in the freezer forever, I need to be better about this!!

  • Reply
    Sam | Away She Went
    July 14, 2017 at 11:36 am

    We just started composting and I feel so much better about using all of our veggie scraps instead of just tossing them. I also meal plan and that definitely saves me from buying too much. I love the crouton idea! We have some slices that are getting old right now, so I’ll have to try it this weekend!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      Let me know how they turn out!

  • Reply
    Talisa
    July 14, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Thank you so much for this; one of my goals this year is to make smarter decisions with left over food, kitchen supplies, etc and reuse as much as possible. This gives me a lot of direction in terms of what I can do with which with items.

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      A little truly goes a long way. It will be routine in no time!

  • Reply
    Megan | LoveFamilyHealth
    July 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    These are great tips! I never thought of the croutons! I love croutons too! So win win!

  • Reply
    Lauren White
    July 14, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    All of these are great ideas — I love croutons and never thought to use stale bread to make my own! Awesome ideas!

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Thanks! The homemade croutons are soooo good too!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    July 14, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Wow!! Leslie these are such great tips! I’ve heard of the lemon juice and of course composting but many of the others are brand new to me. Thanks for the share!

  • Reply
    Lena
    July 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I love all of this! We are still working on figuring out our compost situation, our city doesn’t allow us too. I am researching vermin-composting but I am really intimidated! Any suggestions for those of us living in the city and don’t have a lot of yard to work with?

    • Reply
      Leslie Morrison
      July 15, 2017 at 7:47 am

      Hmm…I have seen old rain barrels converted into composting bins. I actually have a barrel that was from an old pickle factory waiting to be converted. Super easy to convert! Maybe the city won’t mind if they cannot see the pile? There are also bins that are for sale of course. Those can get pricey though…depends on your budget….

  • Reply
    Val
    July 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    These are really great tips! I need to start composting

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