Have you ever figured out that a clean kitchen lowers the food bill? Think about this. Would you rather have a clean, tidy kitchen or walk into a disorganized, dirty mess? Only one of those kitchens is inviting you to come on in and fix a meal. The other kitchen makes you want to back out of there and find somewhere else to eat. That dirty kitchen means shelling out money for a restaurant meal and raises the food bill. The clean kitchen lowers the food bill because you’re eating at home.
My tenant was a nice lady, but her kitchen was a disaster area. Items were piled high on the stove, and the sink and counter were heaped full of dirty dishes and utensils. She lived there six months before asking how the dishwasher worked. Instead of keeping the kitchen clean and cooking at home, her solution was to eat out a lot or order in pizza or Chinese food, usually paid for on the credit card, and then wonder why she struggled with money.
Generally speaking, people save money when they eat at home instead of eating out. Date night or special occasions aside, avoidance of the kitchen is a big reason that people spend too much time and money eating out. The kitchen is too messy to cook in there and tackling the cleaning job is overwhelming.
The good news is, depending on how untidy a kitchen is, it probably won’t take more than 15 minutes to clean it. Even if it does take longer, the motivation to get it finished is underway.
Years ago I discovered Flylady and her mantra is to shine the sink every day, meaning it has to be emptied first before squirting it with window cleaner. The goal is to make it a habit to shine the sink before going to bed and that means there won’t be a dirty kitchen in the morning.
Like so many organizational advice, people have to adapt to what fits their lifestyle and personality. Take what works for you and leave the rest. I don’t follow Flylady anymore because they made a change to their email system and my Inbox quickly became swamped with reminders of which part of my house I should be cleaning.
Each day I make sure I shine my sink, one of Flylady’s cleaning tips I still follow. Yes, it became a daily habit. And all it means is get everything out of your sink. Put it in the dishwasher or hand wash it. A clean sink can be shined. I might not take the Windex to the sink everyday, but every night I have a clean, empty sink.
I’m not the best housekeeper, but I figured out a long time ago I’d rather wake up to a clean kitchen than a dirty one, and my sink is empty before I go to bed. I don’t have extra money to eat out and I’m no gourmet cook, so I was forced to figure out how to prepare easy dinners at home.
My tips for cleaning the kitchen are basic:
- Get everything out of the sink
- If there’s a dishwasher load it up
- If it’s not dishwasher suitable, fill the sink with dish soap and water and let them soak
- Wipe down the counters
- Clean up as you cook
People complain they don’t have time to cook (or clean their kitchen!), but they have time to sit in a long line of cars at the drive-thru window or order pizza that takes 20 to 30 minutes. And to top it off, they can’t figure out where all their money is going.
The same amount of time to order and wait for food could be spent taking control of the kitchen. Ironically, it takes no more than 20 minutes to boil a pot of water and cook spaghetti, heat up a can of pasta sauce, and put garlic bread inside the oven. Home cooked dinner! Dinner is ready in 15 minutes and probably costs less than $5 or $6 to feed several people, as opposed to that same amount of money per person for a burger and fries at the fast food joint.
For busy people, convenience foods like pancake or biscuit mix and instant rice save time and are handy items to keep in the panty. Every time you grocery shop, buy a pre-made salad and it’ll keep in the fridge for a few days.
Tame that wild kitchen, prepare more homemade meals, and watch that food bill shrink!
Stay tuned. More ways to save money eating at home instead of buying fast food are coming up. But first, it’s time to tackle that big, ugly mess and clean up your kitchen. Avoidance = big bucks spent at restaurants.