Beating Inflation By Cooking At Home
Inflation and shortages are impacting everyone throughout the country. Restaurants are struggling to provide their customers with the same quality food at fair prices. They have had to charge more for less and it’s causing a strain on consumers' budgets. People have started to look at ways to save on food and the easiest way to do that is to start cooking at home. 

One of the reasons people are cooking at home more is because they have found easier ways to prepare their favorite dishes. Appliances like air fryers, dishwashers, slow cookers and more have made it easier than ever to cook and clean up the mess and still have a fantastic meal. 

How Inflation & Shortages Impact Our Food Costs 

The reason our food is more expensive and we are not getting the same quality is because of inflation as well as the shortages of the materials or workers needed to get these products on the shelves. Companies are having to cover higher cost of living and operational costs that are impacting their productivity. Workers are having to deal with an increased cost of living so they’ve had to look for work that pays better. It’s a tough cycle and while it does benefit some, we are all experiencing the impact of the higher prices. 

How To Cut Back But Still Enjoy Food 

While food costs are going up, there are ways to cut down on costs, maybe even improve the quality of healthiness of your favorite dishes and still enjoy your meals. These options are great because they require minimal effort and can help you to save thousands of dollars a year. Try these out and remember to expand on your research and look for additional ways to save: 

  • Shop in bulk: One of the most common and easiest ways to save is to buy in bulk. Grocery stores constantly have sales and if there’s an item that lasts longer and you can get it on sale, why not buy more of it? For example, you like a specific soda that costs $2 for a 2 liter bottle. You drink about four of these a week. One week when you go to the store you see that the bottles are marked on sale and now only cost $1. Now it may seem crazy but if you buy 16 bottles of that soda you would be saving $16 for a month of your favorite soda. That may not seem like a lot but if you can do that every month you will be saving almost $200 a year. 
  • Get coupons & rewards: Most grocery stores are competing for local business. Therefore, many of them now offer coupons and rewards programs where you can save based on how much you spend. You’re going to need food and if you plan on shopping there more than once it seems like a good use of your time to sign up for these programs and learn where to get coupons. 
  • Spice things up: A great way to save on food is to start cooking at home. However, the reason we do not usually cook at home is because it takes time and it doesn’t always taste as good as the restaurants. Thankfully, there are advances in technology as well as materials that help you to spice things up a lot more. Have a favorite type of chicken wing that tastes great at a certain restaurant but is now too expensive? Why not spice up the recipe by looking at options that are similar from online stores and cook them in an air fryer? It’s not only much more affordable but healthier as well.
  • Look for copycat recipes: Most popular restaurants now have copycat recipes online of some of their dishes. This is a great opportunity for you to make something similar to your favorite dishes while again making it healthier as well. 

While your main focus right now may be to eat on a smaller budget, improving your health may not be a bad idea as well. In fact, if you can make your favorite dishes healthier, it may also allow you to cut back on some of the health products you use that are also going up in price. Making your own smoothies is an example of how people can save hundreds a year but also potentially not require multivitamins if they are getting enough from their smoothie. 

What To Look For In Spicy Recipes 

One of the reasons it’s recommended to try spicy recipes is because the food actually has several benefits we may overlook. Spicy foods usually fill us up faster and they also help us to not get bored of a dish. If you are trying to save, eating less and more often at home are two ways to accomplish that. Here are some things you should look for when you are interested in trying out some new spicy recipes: 

  • Are the ingredients easy to get? This is important because you want to make sure that you are selecting a recipe where the ingredients are easy to get and are affordable. Shopping online may be a better option because you can save on specific products and also get a wider selection. 
  • What goes into the recipe? Another thing to look into when you are trying to find a spicy recipe is what actually goes into it. This means the chicken, the vegetables and other ingredients that make up the dish. The reason this is important is because, while it’s important to try new things, we all have a decent understanding of what we like and don’t like. For example, if you are not a fan of fish, then even a spicy fish recipe may not work for you. 
  • How long does it take to prepare? While it’s great that you are cooking at home more, you have to keep in mind the preparation time. If you are working and get home around 6 pm and you like to eat around 7 and the dish takes over an hour to make, you are probably not going to want to select that one. If you really like the dish and want to make it today, try to see if there are things you can do in the morning or the night before to save time. This may include marinating the meat or cutting up vegetables. 
  • Are substitutions possible? Substitutions are important in any recipe as we have to make it adaptable to our financial and health needs. Let’s say there’s a recipe that calls for a type of milk that doesn’t sit well with your stomach. Are you still going to use it? Probably not, but the thing to remember is that you may not be able to substitute it with your soy milk or whatever you normally drink. That’s why you need to look at substitute options before you commit to a recipe. 

As you look for cost-effective ways to make spicy recipes and save on your food costs, be sure to subscribe to different social media groups and people who share their tricks for creative dishes and ways to save. It’s a great opportunity to cut down on cost, improve health and maybe add a bit more fun into your meals. Cooking is a rewarding experience that most people learn to love.