We're all interested in saving money, no matter what our economical situation. Lucky for us, there are many different ways we can pinch our pennies. We know we can cut down on entertainment and shopping easily enough, but when it comes to food, it becomes a little harder to see how to save, since it is necessary for our survival.
It's pretty well understood that we can save money by cooking at home more and eating out less often. We've also picked up a few tips and tricks on how to save money at the grocery store while still eating healthy. But there are things you can do at home, while cooking, that can save you money too. Click through the slideshow below to see how you've been wasting money when cooking in your kitchen.
Match The Pan To The Burner Size
Despite what you might think, a bigger burner does not mean things will cook faster on the stove. And if you use a small pan on a big burner, you're just wasting the additional use of energy. If you do this on a gas stove, it's actually a safety hazard. Use big pans on big burners and small pans on small burners.
Use A Slow Cooker
Not only does using a slow cooker mean you can use cheaper cuts of meat (which will save you money at the store), but it uses less energy than the oven too. And you can make so much more than just stew in them -- <a href="http://www.food.com/recipes/crock-pot-slow-cooker" target="_hplink">thousands of different types</a> of dishes can be made with this appliance.
Use Up Leftovers
While some leftovers get eaten up pretty easily (you'll almost never have to throw out leftover chocolate cake) others are a tougher sale -- especially if they're vegetables. But throwing out those leftovers is like throwing money away. Instead, have a "restaurant night" at your home where everyone eats a different leftover dish. Or find a way to incorporate them all into one soup, salad or casserole.
Cook With The Lid On
While cooking with the lid on is not appropriate for all types of dishes, when it is, be sure to use it. A tight fitting lid keeps the heat in, which means that you can cook at a lower temperature, and faster.
Don't Keep The Oven Door Open
Many of us are guilty of opening the oven door one too many times while cooking or baking, allowing all the heat to escape and wasting energy. To prevent this, make sure that the oven racks are properly positioned before you turn on the oven. Also, make note of your cooking time to avoid having to check in on your dish too often while it's in the oven.
Cook With Your Spices
Spices are expensive. And having to buy new ones to make a dish can greatly increase the price you spend on a meal. Take a look in your spice cabinet and see what you have in stock. Cooking a meal centered around the spices you have on hand will not only save you money in not having to buy new ones, but it will also help you use up your spices before they lose their flavor.
Cook In Double Batches
Why not make a double batch of your dinner and freeze half for another night? Not only will it free up your time, but you'll also save on the cost of energy needed to cook up another meal from scratch.
One Pot Meals
Not only will one pot meals normally save you time, but they'll also save you money; you'll use less water on cleaning dishes and less energy to heat separate pans.
You've certainly heard this one before, but we're saying it again anyway (it's that good of an idea). Make your own stock from kitchen scraps. Making your own stock not only tastes so much better than the store-bought varieties, but it's one less item you have to buy.
Use The Right Appliance
If you don't have a toaster or a toaster oven, you should think about getting one. Turning on the oven to make things that could be made with a smaller appliance -- like toast -- is just a huge waste of energy.
WATCH: Curtis Stone's Quick Vegetable Stock Recipe