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9 Ways to Save on Food

Slice and dice cooking costs with these tips

99 ways to save, Chef Joe Randall

Poon Watchara-Amphaiwan

Chef Joe Randall serves up expert tips to help you cut food bills and save money in your kitchen.

Chef Joe Randall, "The Dean of Southern Cuisine"

En español |

1. Be your own butcher.

Boneless chicken breasts cost more per pound than a whole chicken because a butcher is cutting the meat for you. Save money by learning to cut meat yourself. 

Get money savings tips in the AARP Money Newsletter

2. Avoid the impulse to overbuy.

Don't load up the cart and stuff the freezer with food that you might forget about until it's ruined by freezer burn. Buy only what you need at the time so food is fresher.

3. Buy spices in small quantities.

Large containers may seem like a better deal. But if you don't use very much spice, you'll end up throwing it—and your money—away.

4. Extend the life of fresh herbs.

Wrap herbs in a damp paper towel and seal them in a plastic bag. This will extend the shelf life by three to five days.

Chef Brendan Walsh, Culinary Arts Expert

5. Cook under pressure.

Today's stove-top pressure cookers are inexpensive, safe and money saving. Food cooks in one-third of the time. Plus, you retain more of the food's nutrients and use less energy.

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6. Use all your food.

On average, 25 percent of household food and beverages are tossed out, often because people buy ingredients to make a single recipe and throw out the excess. Instead, develop a meal plan to use all your food purchases over several days before they go bad.

7. Freeze flavor.

Garlic, ginger and lemons can be purchased in season at good prices and then frozen. Cut up garlic, mix with a little olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray. Mix minced ginger with water before freezing. Freeze lemons whole and grate the frozen peel to add zest to dishes.

David Pogue, Author of Pogue's Basics

8. Revive old bread.

Place the stale loaf under a running faucet until the crust is wet. Then put the loaf in a 300-degree oven for six to 12 minutes. The steam moistens the inside, the heat firms the crust and you've revived the loaf for another day or so. 

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9. Revive wilted greens.

To rehydrate kale, lettuce, chard and other greens, soak them in lukewarm water for a half hour, then rinse with cold water. 

Joe Randall is the founder of Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School. Brendan Walsh is the dean of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America. David Pogue is the author of Pogue’s Basics.

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