A slow cooker can be an excellent addition to any kitchen. Using a slow cooker just a few days each week can save you lots of money than you can imagine. When it comes to feeding a family, there is a lot of money at stake. An average family spends $800 each month on groceries. That means that a family of four will spend nearly $9,600 in one year. You probably own a slow cooker, but you have never calculated how much time and money it could save you. Below are some illustrations of how a slow cooker can save you hundreds of dollars every week.
Save money by buying fresh ingredients and in-season produce
You’ll need raw ingredients for the slow cooker, which means you’ll save money purchasing fresh items as opposed to boxed and processed goods. Ingredients for a Slow Cooker meal costs about $10. Frozen or boxed side items, as well as processed entrees, can cost up to three times as much as their fresh, raw counterparts, which can cost about $30. By avoiding boxed and processed foods, you’ll also be saving up to $400 a month. Also, fresh produce provides a much healthier diet. Because the cooking process is slow, all the natural juices and nutrients are absorbed back into the food, instead of being cooked out with a lot of conventional methods. Because you are not using oil, you eat much less fat, which is healthy for your whole family and you save on doctor’s bills.
Buy cheaper cuts of meats
Slow cookers may also save you some costs as low-priced cuts of beef are best given that the process of slow cooking tenderizes the meat throughout the day. In addition, these types of lower-priced cuts of meats, in general, have more moisture compared with prime cuts of beef, rendering them ideal for slow cooking. Therefore, the meat soaks in their own juices and tenderize over a number of hours. Opting for cheaper cuts of meat over the prime cuts can save you. Not only does this save money, but the meat will be as soft and tasty as prime cuts because it has been slow-cooked.
This is another aspect which you will enjoy. While most of the time, people never think about this, the typical size of a crockpot meal is more than what they can eat at a single sitting. Since there is so much food being prepared, people can make it in bulk and then freeze the leftovers. This way, your family will have meals available in the future even when you’ve forgotten to prepare a meal in the morning. Or you can slow cook a meal for the sole purpose of freezing in serving size portions. Having meals available, ready to go will save on having to spend money on takeout meals. Just another savings on the weekly budget.
Turn one meal into multiple recipes
Meal choices are something else that you will enjoy when cooking with a crockpot. Usually, people think when they are using a crockpot, their food choices are limited to the soups and stews. Instead, simple recipe research will show that you can come up with different meals from the one meal you made using a slow cooker. For example, buying a full roaster chicken or large roast of any kind usually is cheaper than purchasing multiple packages of meat and other ingredients for meals. One whole chicken can be used for chicken and rice one night. The following day, you can have shredded barbecue chicken or use the broth and bones to make delicious chicken soup.
Save money with less prepping time
We all know that time savings translates to saving money. For busy moms who don’t have a lot of time to cook, a slow cooker can provide their family with a hot meal even when they run a demanding schedule. Preparations can easily be done in the morning before starting your busy day. Prepare your vegetables and other ingredients, throw them into the crockpot, and turn it on. Compare this to the time it would take to cut everything up after work, plus using both the stove and the oven and possibly even the microwave to get the meal ready. Once you fill the cooker with the ingredients you need, put the lid on, set the timer and carry on with your day. The cooker turns off by itself at the required time, and you have a hot meal when you get home.
Clean up is easy and save on your water bills
Using a slow cooker is convenient. Since you are using minimal cooking utensils, like pots, pans, and fryers, you minimize the time you spend in the kitchen. Since you are cutting down on the number of things you need to cook with, this also makes clean up a snap, giving you more time to spend on other important activities. You also don’t have to worry about wasting water by filling up the dishwasher every evening.
Save energy costs
Compared to traditional ovens and stoves, especially older, less energy-efficient models, a slow cooker uses much less energy. You will save energy since you are cooking on low heat and in a small, largely heat-contained environment that won’t heat up your house or significantly add to your electrical bill. You can also load an entire meal into a slow cooker and need not use the oven, stove, or microwave, saving even further on power bills.
As a stay at home mom, you can save tons of money by using a slow cooker. It allows you to get the meal prepared in advance and start cooking or turn the crockpot on while still working. Then your family can eat at home for less compared to eating out. You do not need to commit too much money for a slow cooker since there are plenty of excellent ones at a reasonable cost. Go for the one that’s between five to seven liters volume and one which has got a low, high and automatic setting. There are many delightful slow cooker recipes online, and so you will not get stuck for recipe options. In summary, slow cooking is an affordable means of cooking delicious family meals. It can save you about $3000 per year if you use a slow cooker just a few days every week.