It's the Little Things: Cutting the Grocery Bill by Cooking from Scratch

I've always enjoyed cooking and have looked for ways to cut costs on our grocery bills. As time has gone on I've gone to greater extreems to save a few dollars, but it all adds up and doesn't really take that much extra time. Just planning.

Baking Bread: Probably the most labour intensive, but gets a pretty good return and I quite like the taste. See my post for more details. Saves about $6/week

Making Yogurt: I've been making homemade yogurt in my instant pot for about 2 years now. Saves about half the price of the cheapest yogurt I can find. I've been using "This Old Gal's" recipe. Costs about $5 (cost of 4 L of milk here) to make 4 Kg of yogurt (costing about $16 for plain store bought), or 3 kg of Greek yogurt ($11-12 at Costco). This saves roughly $8 per the two week period that the yogurt lasts us.

Dried Beans instead of Canned: Since getting my instant pot this is so quick and can be done while I'm preparing the rest of dinner if I've run out of my freezer stash. When I think about it in advance, I'll make up about 6 cans worth (2 cup portions) of our main bean staples (black beans, white beans, chickpeas or brown lentils) ans store them in 2 cup containers I reuse (sour cream, cottage cheese etc.). Googling rough cost-comparisions, dried beans cost about 1/3 the amount of canned, saving us roughly $2-3/week.

Make Chicken Broth: Throw the chicken bones into the instant pot for about 80 minutes and get about 4 L of chicken stock. Saves about $4/month.

Total Monthly Savings for cooking from scratch: About $10-15/week savings, which works out to $500-780/year! It might seem like too much work and not worth it to most people but the other benefits tip the scale for me. These include decreasing my packaging a bit as I re-use other containers and the packaging of the raw materials is less than the prepared. Also less salt and preservatives in the food.

Other things I do that add up over time:

Bulk up meat meals with beans and vegetables to get a couple extra portions: Particularly when using ground meats I'll add a can or two of beans, a couple grated carrots, a grated zucchini and some minced up mushrooms. Adds a vegetable serving for the kids and gets a couple extra lunches out for us. Win-win.

Love our left-overs: Always make bigger meals to have for our lunches the next day. I'm working on developing my skills to re-invent left-overs, but for the most part I can eat the same meal about 4 times in a row till I'm sick of it so we usually eat most of our leftovers.

Freeze lunch portions that we're not feeling like eating: On those rare occassions when I just made too much, or planned too much food, I throw lunch portions into the freezer to keep it for another time when I'm feeling lazy or we didn't have enough left overs.

Goals for the Coming Year: 

More price matching and collecting of PC points: My local stores now accept the flip app which makes price matching so much easier and can lead to decent savings. Also going to pay more attention to the point bonuses Superstore offers. I only recently started paying attention and have collected over $100 worth of free groceries.

Grow more food and preserving a bit more, even if it's just as freezer meals in the fall. I was quite pleased with the amount I harvested last year from our garden and am hoping with some better planning and plant spacing I can get even more this year.


  1. Great post! I've been wanting to start making my own thanks to the detailed post on that I'm going to give it a try (without a kitchen aid mixer, wish me luck!) I am interested to know what else, if anything you put in your chicken stock other than the bones and water. I have an instant pot so I of course like to try to use it to it's maximum potential. I'm thinking salt, some herbs, and maybe carrot/celery/onion? Let me know your thoughts!

    1. Thank you! For my chicken stock I'm pretty boring and just do chicken bones. I use it mostly for cooking or vegetable soups (blended up rather than broth based) so I don't notice the lack of flavour from not using carrots or onions with it.


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