Stocking a Budget-Friendly Kitchen

I’ve always been pretty frugal. I remember working at a cafe in high school and counting my cash tips, being thrilled that I could add $100 to my bank account. Most girls my age would spend that at the mall or the movies, but saving money was more fun for me! Sometimes I wonder if I should have gone into finance..

Anyways, don’t get me wrong – I like to shop every now and then and I like nice things just the same as everyone else. I just like to make sure everything balances out in my bank account. Always looking for that balance! So I thought I’d share some ways to fill your kitchen, fridge, and pantry with everything you need for a healthy lifestyle. Minus the expensive bills to go along with it.

Kitchen Essentials

So here’s the deal. To really save money on food, you gotta get busy in the kitchen. And to do that, you need the right tools.

  • Mason Jars – BPA-free, reuseable, classic, and versatile. I use mine to drink water and hold various foods like chia seed pudding, egg salad, sauces, and yogurt parfaits. Buy a dozen from Wal-Mart for 7 bucks.
  • Rubber spatula – perfect for sauteing veggies and scraping nut butter from the jar or food processor
  • Cast Iron Skillet – the most versatile cooking pan! You can fry eggs, saute veggies, bake a cobbler, and do so much more in this skillet.
  • Sheet pan – for all of your baked proteins and roasted vegetables
  • High Powered Blender – Okay, this is a bit of an investment, but just think of all the money you’ll save by making your own smoothies, acai bowls, nut butters, sauces, hummus, soups, and more! This is truly a game changer in the kitchen, and a purchase you won’t regret.
  • Chef’s Knife – if you’re in New Orleans, check out Coutelier NOLA. They have an incredible selection of knives!
  • Wooden Cutting Board – to chop those onions, mince garlic, and all of your other fruits/veggies.

Grocery Shopping

  • Make a list and stick to it! I love using Google Keep because it’s a checklist
  • Shop at Trader Joe’s for pantry staples, and really everything else. They have incredibly low prices.
  • Consider Thrive Market or Amazon Pantry
  • Shop the sales for seasonal produce and meat
  • Visit the farmer’s market for produce
  • Get on the Costco train if you’re feeding more than 3 people
  • Buy organic for the dirty dozen and don’t worry about the rest
  • Make your own iced coffee, zoodles, nut butters, nut milks, coffees, and sauces.
  • Buy in bulk at the grocery, especially for nuts/seeds and spices!
  • You can buy dried beans in bulk too. And they’re a great plant-based protein and full of fiber
  • Don’t get enthralled with all those expensive superfood powders and supplements. Just eat your veggies!

General Tips

  • Make eating out a treat. Maybe 1-3 times per week, depending on your lifestyle. If you do eat out and get a large portion, try to make another meal out of your leftovers.
  • Build up on reusable products. These include metal straws, glass storage containers, plates, bee’s wrap, water bottles. Reusing all of these items will save money over time AND is great for the environment!
  • Don’t be afraid to buy secondhand! If you are lacking some basic kitchen tools, you might be able to find these at your local thrift shop. Just give your items a good wash and they’re like new!
  • Use coupons! Many brands will email or send coupons through their website.
  • Meal planning really helps prevent overbuying ans throwing out food. You don’t have to get crazy detailed, just have a general plan of what you will be eating for the week and make a list based off your plan.
  • Pack your lunch and snacks. This will save so much money! You will always pay more for convenience. Salads, sandwiches, apples, nuts, are all easy, portable lunch and snack ideas.
  • Meat, fish, and protein in general are usually the priciest items on your grocery receipt. Try to incorporate some more vegetarian meals into your diet to cut back on these costs.