Tips and tricks to save money in the kitchen

Christel Deskins

VANCOUVER — These days every penny counts, and you’d be surprised by how much waste can come from just one room – the kitchen. It’s a minefield of money-wasting appliances, but there are a few things you can do to save money. First, the fridge. You should follow your mom’s […]

VANCOUVER —
These days every penny counts, and you’d be surprised by how much waste can come from just one room – the kitchen. It’s a minefield of money-wasting appliances, but there are a few things you can do to save money.

First, the fridge. You should follow your mom’s advice and avoid standing there with the doors open figuring out what to grab. But a less obvious money-waster is overfilling your fridge. 

“Cold air needs room to circulate in a fridge,” says Perry Santanachote, with Consumer Reports. “If you overstuff it, it’s going to use more energy and cause more wear and tear on the appliance.” 

The refrigerator’s condenser coils also collect dust and other debris that tax the compressor and could lead to a pricey breakdown. To help prevent this, brush and vacuum the coils every six months.

Next: the oven. Consider using it less and cooking smaller meals in your toaster oven, microwave or air fryer to shrink your energy bill.

And you might be wasting money on cookware by wearing it out. 

“Avoid using aerosol cooking spray on your non-stick cookware,” Santanachote says. “It can actually build up on the surface and damage it.”

If you use a non-stick skillet for high-temperature cooking, like searing meat, the pan’s coating will wear out more quickly and you’ll need to replace it. Consider investing in a cast-iron pan that can withstand high heat. 

There’s also money going down the drain at the sink. You can save energy by not scrubbing pots and pans with the water running, and letting them soak in soapy water first to lift stuck on food. 

Next, your dishwasher uses more water and will wear out twice as fast if you run it half-empty, so make sure to fill it up. And don’t waste energy pre-rinsing the dishes. The dishwasher’s built-in sensors will adjust the wash cycle to make sure they get thoroughly cleaned.

And last, one of the biggest kitchen money-wasters is throwing out spoiled food. Canadians throw out more than $,1000 in groceries every year, but there are some things you can do to make your food last longer. 

  • Don’t store milk in the refrigerator door. Temperature tests show that space is often the warmest in the fridge. Instead, keep your condiments there.
  • To help prevent produce from going bad before you have a chance to use it, store apples, apricots, and pears in a separate bin in your refrigerator. Those fruits give off a gas called ethylene that causes produce near them to ripen.

Making these little changes can help you save on some of your bills. 

With files from Consumer Reports 

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