Budget Stretchers for The Frugal Kitchen

“Oh, look at that,” Ruth remarked as she hefted a gigantic container of powdered coffee creamer to read the ingredients on the label. “Wow, the first thing on the list is corn syrup solids, and then partially hydrogenated coconut oil.”

As she droned on and on about the odd-sounding ingredients that seemed more chemical than food, my mind wandered (it often does when Ruth begins one of her investigative reports). I began thinking about how to stretch the dollar in lean times.  Here we were in one of those bulk food warehouse stores being dazzled by 60-ounce containers of coffee creamer for less than $6.00, and all I could think of was how expensive everything seemed to be.

Bulk food warehouses are not a good place to shop if you want to keep a frugal kitchen, I thought.

A frugal kitchen operates without a lot of fluff and extra stuff and a lot closer to the (soup) bone, so to speak. When one runs a frugal kitchen, one is more apt to use these budget stretchers:

– Cook dried beans instead of opening a can
– Bake treats instead of buying packaged ones
– Use fresh produce instead of frozen or canned
– Use spice blends instead of spending money on individual spices
– Keep fewer items in the pantry (e.g. one box of cold cereal instead of four)
– Not overcook or overeat
– Be creative with meal stretchers like rice and pasta
– Eat at home most often

Stocking just a few choice items (instead of everything one desires) is the mark of a frugal kitchen. Only very seldom would stocking up at a bulk food warehouse be prudent; there are so many more important things to buy than keeping my grocery money tied up on kitchen shelves.

I have to agree with Ruth when she says: “I can’t imagine buying this container of creamer; it would last me a year. I’d rather have that money in my pocketbook to use on things that matter”.

Whew! That was a close call. She had the creamer in her shopping cart. I was cringing at the thought of stirring creamer into my tea at her house. Bad economy or not, some things just aren’t tolerable! Thank goodness she came to her frugal kitchen senses.

Happy Cookbooking,


About Erin Miller

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