One of the best ways to save money on food is to plan your meals. A meal plan can help you avoid the last-minute rush to get takeout, resulting in meals that are fairly inexpensive, and healthier. Plus, when you have a meal plan, you are more likely to shop according to your list, ensuring that you limit impulse purchases at the store. When it comes to planning meals, one of my favorite tools is the crock pot. I love the slow cooker for a number of reasons.
One of the biggest reasons that I use a slow cooker is the time it saves during the day. Meals for crock pots are normally easy to prepare. On top of that, you don’t have to do a lot of active preparation the day of.
Often, I prepare the ingredients for the crock pot before I go to bed. Sometimes, I load everything into the ceramic pot, cover it, and place it in the fridge overnight. The only thing I have to do in the morning is get it started.
By the time the activities of the day are over, the food is finished. All I need to do is whip up a salad and get a few pieces of fruit, and we’re all set. On days when I know I’ll be busy, my meal plan includes the slow cooker. It makes things so much easier.
We have a relatively large crock pot. At eight quarts, it is a crock pot that is a bit large for our family of three. But that hasn’t stopped us from using it. In fact, I often use the crock pot because I can make larger quantities with ease.
From soup to slow cooker casseroles, it’s possible to make enough for one night, and then enjoy the leftovers the next. This saves us money, and it saves even more time.
Sometimes, I freeze the leftovers instead. I do this quite a lot with homemade soups. Having these foods in the freezer make it easy for me to quickly and easily prepare “emergency meals” when needed. Instead of having to turn to processed foods, we can just go to the freezer. My slow cooker provides me with the means to prepare for the future, as well as save time today.
A slow cooker doesn’t use very much energy at all. While the energy savings from using a crock pot are probably relatively small, even added up over time, it’s still something to think about.
I’m not much of a penny pincher, but I do feel warm and fuzzy inside when I think that I am using a little less energy, and saving some money. When combined with the other actions we take around the house to conserve energy, adding in the crock pot is just part of the overall strategy. It’s a nice way to include your meal planning in your long-term efforts to save the planet and save money.
Most of the time, you aren’t stuck wiping grease spots off the counter when you’re done with the crock pot. Your slow cooker keeps everything contained. Additionally, since you only need the one pot for most simple recipes, you aren’t using as many dishes. My crock pot is normally easy to clean on its own, but if I wanted to make it even easier, I could buy liners for the inside. That way, you don’t have to worry about hardly any mess at all.
This just adds to the time savings. Not only can you save time on the food prep end, but the slow cooker also helps you save time on the clean up end.
You can make a wide variety of foods in your crock pot. From game hen to soup to ethnic foods, there are many crock pot recipes you can use to your advantage. There are endless healthy recipes for the crock pot as well. When you use the crock pot, there is no reason to limit your cuisine.
Do you have a crock pot? Why do you love your slow cooker?
Photo by Will Sisti.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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