I’ll admit it, the kitchen is my wife’s zone. I only enter it to get something to drink, empty the dishwasher or grab a snack. That’s about the only time I’m in there. I’m the guy who likes to sit around and think about ways to save money, not cook. So, while my wife has been hard at work cooking (which I LOVE honey!), I have been thinking about ways we can save money every month in that particular department. There are plenty of things in the kitchen that you can save money on. Some things could add up to hundreds of dollars per month while others may save you a few cents. Either way, you can save some money and may even help the environment in the process. Here are a few that I came up with and be sure to add yours in the comments!
1. Unplug the Vampires
Most of you have probably already heard this, but many small appliances continue to use power even when they are turned off (called vampire energy loss). For example, my wife and I have an amazing 4 slice toaster by Kenmore. It was a wedding gift and we are really glad we put it on our registry. However, it has these bright blue LED lights on them that constantly stay on when plugged in. I know LED lights are supposed to be really low on power consumption, but there is an even cheaper way of running it. Unplug it! There are other appliances that you could unplug after use such as mixers, coffee makers, radios and microwaves. By unplugging them, you can save a few bucks a month and maybe help out the world a little.
2. Don’t Heat Your Kitchen With Your Oven
Obviously, your oven is a big energy consumer when on. Therefore, it’s best to keep its use to a minimum. When you are using it, only open and close it when starting and finishing the meal. There is no need to keep opening and closing the door. That just makes it have to work harder, thus using more energy. It’s also not necessary to pre-heat for most items. It just makes you have to keep the oven on longer.
3. Turn Up the Temperature in the Chill Box
A lot of people love to turn down the temperature in their refrigerator. I’ll never forget the day I went to visit a friend and got some milk out of the fridge. It had ice in it! Talk about a waste of energy. Your fridge is probably the biggest energy consumer in the kitchen. Turn up the temperature just a little. Experts say that between 38 and 42 degrees is an optimal setting to keep your items fresh and save energy in the meantime.
4. Skip the Pre-Rinse and Dry the Dishes By Hand
I used to use the pre-rinse cycle on the dishwasher every so often. I always thought I was doing more good than harm because I was getting some of the grime off before the “final” wash. After thinking about it, I was just wasting a TON of water and using up electricity to heat it up.
Most people now use a dishwasher to wash their dirty dishes. I know we do. I’m not really sure what the savings (or added costs?) are when compared to washing by hand but if you do use the dishwasher, skip the dry cycle. The heated dry cycle uses a lot of energy and it’s better to dry them by hand or let them air dry.
5. Buy In Bulk
My wife and I bit the bullet last week and joined Sam’s Club. We live in an apartment so space is limited but we feel that we can make up the cost of the membership in about two months of shopping. We mostly joined for the produce, meat and lunch items (for packing) so it shouldn’t take us long. Heck, on our first trip we saved about $15 compared to the prices right next door at Wal-Mart.
One of our favorite gifts from the past few years was a Foodsaver vacuum sealer. My wife and I don’t eat a whole heck of a lot so we often found ourselves wasting meat or having it get freezer burnt after throwing it in a ziploc bag. As many of you know, freezer burnt meat isn’t that appetizing. The vacuum sealer helps us keep the food fresh and taste like it just came from the market.
6. Shop Smart
Another great tip is to shop smart. When grocery shopping, look for great deals and always be looking out for coupons on the items you purchase frequently. My wife and I don’t coupon but would like to try it out (maybe?). We just don’t know where to get started or if it would benefit us since we don’t spend a fortune on groceries like a family of 6 would.
What other tips do you have? Share them in the comments!