Homemade Groceries That Can Save You Money
Learn how to make homemade products to save money on groceries
Sometimes, eating healthier foods and saving money on groceries can feel like mutually exclusive goals. However, you can reduce your grocery costs while also eating healthy if you prepare more items at home instead of buying them pre-made at the store. See our tips below for ideas of things to make homemade to save money. As you begin to make more of your staple items at home, open a checking account with Citizens Bank to create and manage a realistic budget for your grocery expenses and any upfront costs.
Begin saving money on groceries by making these foods at home
Though there are many foods that you can make at home, these five options represent a selection of homemade products that beginners can easily make to save money.
Applesauce - Core (and peel, if you wish) four medium cooking apples, cut them into fourths and place them in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover them with 1/2 cup of water over medium heat until boiling, then reduce the heat and stir occasionally to break them up. Add in 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Homemade applesauce is delicious, but for it to be cost-effective compared to store-bought varieties, you'll need to make it in bulk quantities and either freeze or can what you don't plan to eat immediately.
Dried fruits - Dried fruits may not be something you purchase often, but you can use them to replace more expensive, unhealthy snacks such as chips or other prepackaged junk foods. Though a fruit dehydrator is helpful, you can make your own dried fruits by placing fruit slices on a cookie sheet, setting the oven to 170°F and baking for four to eight hours (or until dry and chewy).
Salad dressing - Many salad dressings can be made from scratch, but Italian dressing is the easiest to make for beginners. It requires little more than several ingredients you probably have in your kitchen already: olive oil, vinegar and the seasonings or herbs you want. Italian dressing recipes are also highly customizable, so you can experiment with ingredients to make your own unique flavor.
Salsa - Instead of purchasing your salsa from the store, you may want to consider starting a vegetable garden to incorporate your own homegrown produce into your salsa recipe. To make salsa, you'll need tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, garlic, bell peppers, cilantro, olive oil and optional lime juice.
Yogurt - If you purchase yogurt often, you could incur significant savings by opting for homemade yogurt. With only milk, a cup of commercial yogurt (containing live cultures), a saucepan and a thermometer, you can begin making your own custom yogurt creations. Don't forget the flavorings - try out different options like honey, fruits or even herbs to discover what you like.
Get the best value for your money with these tips on making homemade groceries
Though your goal is to save money by making things yourself, you'll likely need to purchase some ingredients and equipment to get started. Whether you're canning, freezing or just cooking for a large family, these tips will help you to get started so you can create more sustainable, cost-effective habits:
Purchase produce when it's in season - Making homemade foods that require produce can be especially cost-effective if you purchase produce when it's in season and then preserve it for later. For example, you could purchase tomatoes, peppers and onions during August or September, when they're plentiful and competitively priced.
Learn how to can different types of food - If you learn to can foods at home, you can save them for the winter and further reduce your grocery bill. There are two types of canning: water bath canning and pressure canning. Water bath canning only requires jars with lids and bands as well as a deep saucepot with a lid. You can use water bath canning to preserve high-acid foods such as fruits, jams and jellies, salsas and condiments for 12 to 18 months. For pressure canning, you'll need to purchase a pressure canner for around $100 - $200. Use pressure canning to keep low-acid foods like vegetables, meats and seafood from spoiling for two to four years.
Buy ingredients in bulk when feasible - To save on the cost of the ingredients, keep an eye out for sales so you can purchase items in bulk. Though the prices may seem high initially when purchasing larger quantities, you'll be saving money in the long term, and it's especially valuable for seasonings used in recipes that you will make again and again.
Grow an herb and vegetable garden - Why pay for peppers or parsley when you can grow them yourself? The more you can harvest at home, the more you save. You can even grow and dry frequently used herbs to trim that portion of your grocery budget. Plus, you can grow herbs indoors all year long.
Open a checking account with Citizens Bank to manage your grocery funds
Now that you've decided to make your own homemade products to save money, you'll need to create a realistic budget. With Citizens Bank, you can open a checking account online to use for your everyday grocery spending as well as paying bills, managing money transfers and more. Then, you can easily transfer the money you save by making homemade groceries to a savings account to grow the funds further. If you're ready to start saving money on groceries, put some of these ideas into motion and contact Citizens Bank today to find the right checking and savings accounts for your lifestyle.