If you are trying to save money, think smaller and still have a full functioning kitchen that you can use, I’ve got it all for you. I spend most of my day in the kitchen. Meal prepping is a must-do in our house and it’s very rare for me not to make an entire meal from scratch. Not only am I a big cook, but I work from home and the kids are homeschooled. This means I need a kitchen with all the essentials that doesn’t take up a ton of space or dwindle our family’s budget. So, I decided to share all the little ways I have made a smaller, less expensive kitchen work for me. Not only that but, I aim to keep things more environmentally friendly as well. Here are some of my personal choices for a frugal kitchen makeover.
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Tom and I have gone through so many blenders in our life, it is absolutely ridiculous. About 3 years ago my mom gifted us a NutriBullet and we couldn’t have imaged that the smallest, simplest and (one of the) less expensive blenders would achieve literally everything we have ever needed in the kitchen that no other blender was able to do for us.
Some of our main reasons for sticking with our NutriBullet:
See all the recipes I’ve made with my NutriBullet
Now this one I am still on the fence about. When it comes to cook time, I hear the Instant Pot is unbeatable. Although I have also heard the temperatures can get dangerously high. Truthfully, I don’t usually mind allowing food to slowly cook in the crock pot all day and don’t usually have to speed things along. Getting an Instant Pot would be a big investment that I just don’t know that I need. It does boast that it uses less energy which I love, however, have heard contradicting arguments that the high temperatures actually end up using a lot of energy.
So when it comes to this one, I’m in a pickle. This is where you come in. Feel free to head to the comments and give me your opinions on which one you believe has been the best for you and your family.
Our family has found a pretty good balance when it comes to the use of the dishwasher. Because we are a family of 5 and throughout the day 4 of us are usually home we tend to dirty a lot of dishes. We also meal prep like crazy and take full advantage of our pots and pans. Instead of spinning multiple loads throughout the day, we wash our plastics, pots and pans in the sink by filling one side like a sudsy tub. This stops us from running an extra load and wasting water.
My step dad originally was the one who introduced me to the idea of a “sink tub” to cut back on water waste and it’s something we have passed on to our kids as well. To save space on our counter tops and keep things looking clean, there are great in-the-sink dish dryers. These can be used on the other side of your sink to neatly store washed dishes and allow them time to dry.
Plastic bags are my mortal enemy. They are terrible for the environment and they can so quickly take over my kitchen. So many places these days have reusable bag options and often offer discounts for using them.
Check out some of these seriously adorable reusable bags that are capable of fitting absolutely everything you need into them!
Here are my top reasons for making the switch:
As a kid, my family used to use reusable plates and now they are something that we have basically forgotten about all together. Yes, clean up would be easier but it’s a huge waste of environmental resources, and can end up causing you to throw away more garbage bags at the end of the week.
I know most people are turned off to the idea of having more dishes to do. But really, what’s a few plates? When it comes to you and your family at dinner time, using paper plates really won’t cut back on dishes time or water wasted. At least not by much!
Again, paper towels are something that are basically obsolete in our house. Anytime I needed to wipe my hands off, especially when cooking, I tended to use our nice towels or I’m constantly turning the water off and on. That’s when I got these amazing flour sack rags. They are thin, easy to store and super easy to grab and use as a rag. Whether you like to clean your hands or tidy up the counter tops, these versatile rags do it all.
They are easy to wash and because they are so thin, they take up very little room.
Chances are, you have heard about the downfalls of using plastic. Things like BPA that are bad for you and all the rest that is bad for the environment. Not only does switching your water bottles to a glass reusable bottle save both of these, but it also encourages water drinking and cuts back on the amount of dishes at the end of the day.
Everyone in our family has their own water bottle to drink from throughout the day. It helps huge in keeping everyone hydrated and we don’t mix up whose cup is whose.
Reasons for making the switch
Yes, I am one of those people who washes Ziplock bags. We do use them on occasion for freezer storage but have made a huge effort to cut back on the disposable plastic storage options in favor of more high quality storage containers. The initial investment will of course be bigger, but has the potential to help your food last longer and cut back on waste.
A downfall os this is of course needing to find more room for storage. Personally, I am OK with a one time purchase that I feel is better for the environment and ultimately the better choice in the long run.
Because we spend so much time in the kitchen, these reusable liners have been helpful in more ways than one. Obviously, the main use was for making cupcakes and muffins without having as much waste at the end. The other great thing about these liners is that you can also use them as snack containers or separators in the kids’s lunch bin. These work perfectly for breakfast muffins or make ahead omelets!
For the longest time I wanted a Keurig coffee maker. They are so fun after all! I love he K cups and the variety of options that come along with it. Since they are a bit of an investment, it kept getting delayed since it wasn’t a priority in our house. I’ll be honest, at the time I wasn’t a big coffee drinker. I just liked the hot chocolate, tea and a few more sugary coffees. Wouldn’t ya know it I started liking coffee more and more. I was stopping a few times a week at the gas station to get a cup. Instead of wasting money by always being a single cup of coffee, I decided it was time to invest in a small, simple coffee maker.
Plus, makers like this single cup maker can be really wasteful when it comes to the amount of K cups that are wasted. I’m so glad to hear they have reusable cups now, but I can’t help but think most people don’t use them. Especially when they make buying so many fun varieties so easy! Coffee filters on the other hand can be easily composted, therefore they add no additional waste.
The perks of the simpler maker:
These are some of the switches that we have made over the years that have wound up sticking. I would love to hear from you guys, what frugal kitchen switches do you swear by?
$5 Meal Plan – The $5 meal plan was created by a busy mother of 4 for other busy mother’s out there. Get access to healthy meal plans that take all the guess work out of what to make for your family!
BeFrugal – Be Frugal is an online resources for the best coupons around. In stores, online or in restaurants.
Dosh – Dosh is an app that links up to your credit cards (or qualifying debit cards) and gives you money back on purchases you make. It works like other cash back apps by refunding you money on qualifying purchases. Only you don’t have to keep track, it scans discounts and gives you money back automatically!
IBotta – IBotta is a totally free app that pays you $10 just for signing up. With this app you can get paid for the things you already plan on buying!
Love and Money – Online courses to help couples and family get finances together in order to stay together!
Paperless Home – The paperless home guides you step by step through how to start creating a home where all of your most important information can always be in one place and always at your finger tips!
Simplify + Planner – Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog has a great and inexpensive planner to help you get intentionally organized. Starting a blog can be very overwhelming and getting a little organized can go a long way.
Target Debit Card – If you shop at Target as much as me, you should definitely get in on the debit card if you haven’t already. All it does is remove money from your regular checking account like a regular debit card, but saves you 5% on your purchases every time you use it!