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Kitchen Economics 101


Let’s talk money for a second.

Literally, every penny you don’t have to spend on “the basics” (food, shelter, clothing…) is money you can spend on “the extras” (paying down debt, vacations, giving above & beyond). If you want to save more money the quickest: Head to your kitchen!

My mom introduced me to the concept of Kitchen Economics shortly after I was married… but I’d seen her implement these practices for years:

  • Not wasting food.
  • Using what she had.
  • Getting creative with “catch all” dishes.
  • “Working up” produce that was only partly bad.

Bingo. That’s the one I want to talk about today… just to show you how simple this is.

Today my five older kids were visiting my sister’s house. I leave for a week-long trip tomorrow, and we usually get groceries on Monday- so I was trying to figure out what to feed the three little ones with “a little of this and a little of that”.

We had 3 nearly-bad apples, a few whole carrots at the bottom of the fridge, about five questionable onions, a box of organic mac’n’cheese and some frozen ground beef. Aside from condiments and canned food, that was about it.

I threw the ground beef in some warm water, started the water for macaroni, peeled a few carrots, and decided that I would spend an extra 3-5 minutes working on the onions and apples.

Two of the onions were totally bad, but the other three were only half bad. So, I cut off the bad parts, chopped the good parts and added it to the pan, immediately followed by the softened ground beef. (Win-Win for flavor and nutrients with the extra onion + cleaning out my pantry!)

The apples are where I halted, though. They weren’t being cooked and I didn’t want a bad flavor in a fresh apple. I cut one open and it was significantly too far gone, so I had to throw that one out.

I cut open the second and third together and realized they were barely bad, so I cut off the few bad spots, chopped them, and added them to my kids’ plates.

This did 3 things for me:

  1. Saved money on not having to supply another snack for the littles a few hours later. (Apples are high in fiber and very filling to little bellies because of it.)
  2. Made me proud of myself to be a good steward of what I have. It’s the little things. But I felt more productive in the kitchen. (Which changes my confidence and enthusiasm ever so slightly. #worthit)
  3. Added significant nutrition to my kids’ meal by adding another produce item.

I hope this inspires you to take a quick second look before tossing things in your kitchen! Remember: a dollar saved is a dollar earned.



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