We’ve all heard the saying, “You need to spend money to make money!” but what about spending money to SAVE money? It goes against everything my brain knows about saving money, you can’t save money by spending money…or can you?
Well, it’s true. There are some things that I’d normally balk at buying, but they really do save us money! In the case of the items below, you really do have to
Spend Money to Save Money
Let’s examine some of my favorites:
1. A reusable water bottle was a MUST when we lived in Florida. It’s also a must when you are a road warrior with kids in tow. With a fast food soda costing $2 and a bottle of water near that, refilling your own bottles is a necessity to save money.
The key is to temper quality with price. We used to buy water bottles at the dollar store, and they’ll still do in a pinch (or for kids who constantly leave their bottle behind!) but I’ve found that they don’t last through a lot of washings. I prefer glass bottles but glass isn’t allowed everywhere, even with silicone covers. In the end I found that I like stainless steel bottles the best. You can freeze them and even if you don’t they keep your drinks cool for a long time.
2. Grow your own mini vegetables for a small cost. I love alfalfa sprouts on my sandwiches and salads, and bean sprouts in my stir fry, but they’re hard to find these days. Back in Florida a quart of sprouts would run me $5, pricey but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Imagine my surprise when we moved to WA and I couldn’t find sprouts of any kind in any store! Apparently they cause so many foodborne illness problems here that they’re a liability!
Well alrighty then! Thankfully I have my trusty EasySprout and in as little as 3 days I will have all the sprouts I could want. Seriously, I always grow too many. The nice thing about the EasySprout is that you can do greens or beans, it’s super versatile.
If the EasySprout isn’t your thing and you have a canning jar handy, I also LOVE Sprout Ease lids! Screw them on to your canning jar and instant sprouter! Oh, and don’t forget the seeds!
3. Quality cookware is a must have in the kitchen that’s ready to cook! And what do we do in a cooking kitchen? WE SAVE MONEY! That’s right! By cooking at home you are going to save a ton of money, a ton! To make your job easier you need the right tools, pieces that are easy to use & clean, as well as priced right.
Because you’re am amateur cook you don’t need the best of the best and you certainly don’t need every gadget out there…so what SHOULD the new cook have in their kitchen?
-A good santuko knife can do the job of several knives. To keep your knife in good order you’ll also want a knife sharpener (I am partial to this one by Kitchen IQ and it’s only a few bucks!)
–silicone oven mitts are especially important for new cooks!
–12″ skillet also works as a frying pan, saute pan, and wok.
–6 qt dutch oven, just big enough to cook a soup or one pot meal for a family but not too heavy to handle.
–sauce pan for those times when you need to whip up a delicate sauce or boil an egg
–spatula/turner, whatever you call it, you can’t get by without one!
–wooden spoons won’t destroy your new plans or flavor your food!
– target=”_blank”>food processor with the gadgets, it will chop, grate, mix, and shred! Save money and time!
–13″x9″ baking pan, this grandaddy of bakeware will bake a cake, cook a casserole, house your lasagna, and in a pinch will even bake cookies!
4. Good food storage containers are worth their weight in gold! Gold, I tell ya! Ok, maybe not real gold, but close. It’s worth investing in a few cereal savers (which I don’t even use for cereal! I use them to store rice, flours, and cat food), and an assortment of 1, 2, 4, and 6 cup containers in your choice of glass or plastic.
5. A GOOD insulated lunch bag is necessary if you ever eat away from home. Remember how we’re going to cook at home now? Well, that means your lunches and breakfasts out should be packed too! “But Meg, lunch boxes are so ugly!” Not this one, or if you prefer a more neutral look this one is simple and gets the job done.
6. A travel cooler can quickly for itself twice over! There are some pretty awesome iceless coolers that plug right into your vehicle and fit between the seats but if you aren’t ready to spend that kind of change (or have a large family and need more room) you can use a traditional cooler like we do (use ice packs to keep everything from getting wet!)
7. A semi-professional kitchen mixer with a dough hook will make everything from break baking to potato mashing easier, making you much more likely to make food from scratch. While I adore my 5 Qt Kitchenaid Mixer and recommend it to everyone I know, some hand mixers can accomplish the same thing with just a wee bit more effort, for 90% less dough. (Dough. See what I did there?)
8. Reuseable snack pouches make taking smoothies, shakes, yogurt, applesauce, and baby food with you super easy! I really like this set from Squooshi because they don’t scream “Look! I’m eating babyfood!” With these sets all you have to do is whip up a batch of applesauce (or whateversauce, I’m partial to sweet potato, pear, and banana sauce), fill the pouch, then freeze it. When you’re ready to go grab a pouch from the freezer and it’ll thaw as you go about your day.
There are a million other things that I firmly believe pay for themselves and save money over time (like your own washer & dryer!) but hey, I’ve got a houseful of kids asking me to make them lunch so I’m only listing 8 here. Please do tell me what YOU spend money on to save! Join in on the conversation over on Facebook or post in the comments below!