My kitchen is my sanctuary. It’s where I feed the ones I love and de-stress after a long day. Every room in my house could be at the breaking point of desperately needing a spring clean but as long as my hob, fridge and freezer are scrubbed, organised and neat then I can sleep at night.
When I started saving and paying off debts I acquired a desire to better myself in a variety of ways including introducing a new more minimal lifestyle to the home. This has been a challenge but a rewarding experience. Being thrifty and being minimal goes hand in hand as you can make money when you have a de-clutter.
When reducing the items in your kitchen, remember there are 4 main avenues to take. You can sell it, gift it, donate it or bin it. Selling it is the thriftiest approach however if you think you can’t make money then please gift to a friend who needs it or donate it to your local charity shop. Please don’t bin anything unless it’s completely unusable by anyone.
1. No More Single Use
Banish and ban all single use utensils from your kitchen. They waste space like they waste money. Learn some knife skills from YouTube and do away with your avocado cuber.
2. Reduce Food Waste
If you shop smartly, with a meal plan and a budget, you can eliminate food waste almost entirely from your kitchen. Making sure you get every penny out of your weekly shop will ensure you are running a thrifty kitchen.
3. Stay Loyal
Stick with one big supermarket brand and build up loyalty points with them. A few times a year you can use these points to get a weekly shop for free! We like to save ours up for Christmas presents. You can also find other ways to build up the points. For example Nectar points can be earned through a variety of websites other than Sainsbury’s.
4. Fill Up Your Freezer
Your freezer might be the most important thing in your kitchen. What other device will save you so much money on every shop. Imagine a world where you could only buy fresh – you’d be throwing so much out. Make sure you buy food that’s about to expire for cheap and bung it in the freezer for a meal in the future.
5. Don’t Fear the Use-By-Date
Often use-by-dates have a strange effect on some people where they dare not trust the food if it’s even one day out of the use-by-date. But to have a thrifty kitchen, you have to recognise that food does not go off at midnight and is perfectly usable for a few days longer.
6. Work Out It’s Cost per Use
If you really want that new coffee machine you’ve been eyeing up then ask yourself after all costs considered, will it actually be cheaper than the current take-a-way coffee you’re buying every day now? If it is, then go for it.
7. No More Bottled Water
Odds are that where you live the water is perfectly safe therefore there is no reason to waste money on bottled water. If you don’t like drinking tap water because it’s cold then keep a big bottle in the fridge, make sure it’s topped up and chilled then use that for drinks. If you don’t like tap water because it’s not filtered then a one of cost-of a water filter bottle in the fridge is cheaper than buying bottled water over and over.
8. Take On Items Worth The Space They Take Up
Consider whether or not an appliance is worth the space it takes up in the kitchen. The oven is totally worth the space it takes up. However, the pancake maker – that you use once a year – isn’t.
9. Grow Your Own Herbs
Herbs don’t particularly cost too much but every little bit helps when you’re trying to run a thrifty kitchen. Growing your own herbs, if nothing else, is a great gateway into growing your own vegetables one day.
10. De-clutter Your Appliances and Utensils
Take a good look at what you have in your kitchen right now and be honest with yourself with regards to what you’ve used in the past year, what you’re going to use this year and if you’d rather have the space. This year I’ve donated 5 big appliances and close to 20 mugs and glasses that were taking up space in my kitchen.
11. Know Your Knives
You probably only need 5 different knives (at most) for the type of cooking we all do on an average day so buy a decent set with different variants and make sure you get a knife sharpener too.
12. Make Thrifty Kitchen Upgrades
Do you ever look at your kitchen and decided you need a refit? Sometimes just a lick of paint or some new cupboard handles will give you the luxury upgrade feel without having to spend a fortune. Don’t go for the big upgrades without first trying some budget touches.
13. Shop To Your Budget
Food waste is one of my biggest pet peeves and a first world problem if I ever saw one. It also doesn’t make for a thrifty kitchen so make a shopping list and a budget when you do your future shops to make sure you don’t end up throwing in food you’ll end up throwing out.
14. Never Buy First Hand
Charity shops, thrift stores, Freecycle, eBay and Facebook Marketplace are your new best friends. If you do need a new appliance, don’t buy from Argos or Ikea straight away. Firstly, see if you can nab a working one second-hand.
15. Delete Your Duplicates
Go through your cupboards today and remove any duplicates. I recently did this as I had numerous can openers, several cheese graters and more ladles that I could possibly use at once. Having duplicates of items are only worth it if you plan to have them all in use at the same time.
I hope you can use these rules if you’ve freshly moved out from home, starting again somewhere new or looking to minimalise what you already have. Go into your kitchen one day this week and you might be shocked at how much you actually have.