Here are some great hacks I use every week to make the most of the products I buy and the money I spend. Let me know what you do to stretch your pennies.
1. Freeze the juice from canned fruit into ice cube trays and use it in smoothies. My brilliant Abby came up with this idea. We were just pouring the juice down the drain and she questioned our lack of using this recently discovered gold mine. She's really into smoothies and decided to try freezing the juice. It totally works! You can freeze a few at a time and store them in a plastic bag or container.
2. Use the heels of bread or contents at the end of the cracker box for homemade bread crumbs. See this helpful post for details.
3. Dry or freeze your fresh herbs for later use. Tutorial Here.
4. When fresh fruit is in season, buy extra and freeze it. If you have a
garden you can freeze part of your harvest for later. I freeze
blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and bananas regularly. TIP: If a banana is going bad, peel it and freeze it in a zipper bag. You can use it later in baking or smoothies.
5. When cheese is on sale stock up. Cheese can be shredded and frozen for later use. You won't be able to tell the difference.
6. Invest in good storage containers. I've tried to use the cheaper dollar store, or discount store, version of big storage containers, but they don't seal as well as the better brands like Snapware. Also use a clear container with a label. Not only will your food not spoil due to bad seals, but you can see what you need to buy when you are running low. I suggest using only 2 sizes (a 15 cup and 11 cup size are my preferred) because it saves on space, stacks up nicely in a cabinet, the smaller in front of the larger) and you can easily find the ingredient you need.
7. When storing sugars (brown, white, powdered) put them in a plastic bag first, and then into the container. This helps lock out moisture and prevents clumping. If your brown sugar does clump, add a piece of bread to the bag and reseal. After a few hours the sugar will become softened and you can throw away the bread.
8. Buying bulk is great even if you don't have a big family. You can portion out chicken, meat, dry goods and other big boxed items into what your family needs for the week. Freeze or store the rest and you'll save money, and build your food storage.
9. Use pieces of cardboard to line the bottom and sides of your large freezer to prevent freezer burn on bakery, bread and other items.
10. Reuse grocery bags. I know we probably all do this, but those plastic
bags are not great for our environment. If I can use them for other
purposes besides bringing home my groceries then I keep them out of the
land fill. Check this link for awesome ideas!
11. Vinegar is your friend. It cleans everything and is super cheap. Here's a list of what vinegar can help you with.
12. Dawn dish soap will take grease stains out of towels, aprons, clothing, etc. We've proven this in a 5th grade, award winning Science Fair Project. It works! Buy it, use it. You won't be sorry.
13. Quick Pasta. Bring water to a rapid boil, add pasta. Cook for 3 minutes, cover and take off the heat. Let pasta sit in water, covered, for 8-10 minutes. Drain water. The pasta will be perfectly cooked, and you're saving energy! This tip is courtesy of my friend Chelsea & her mom--I use it all the time, and it works!
Hoping to make your life easier this week ~Katie