11 Budget-Friendly, Time-Saving Tips for the Kitchen

How to save both time and money while cooking and entertaining

Easy tips to save time and money in the kitchen.

Let's face it — the price of being a true foodie and entertaining at home can start to add up. Between gourmet ingredients, upgraded décor (no one thinks those paper plates are classy), and booze, a dinner party or summer get-together can be pricey.

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More than that, entertaining and feeding a crowd takes up valuable time that you don't have. How often have you started to cook (what you thought would be) an easy menu that turned into a full-blown, hours-long event? While cooking can be a relaxing task, it's more time-consuming than you think.

Don't fret — there is a way to cook and entertain while pinching pennies, without looking cheap. True foodies know how to make the most of the food they buy, whether by freezing, buying in bulk, or simply preventing food from spoiling before use. Before you know it, your food costs will whittle down — leaving lots leftover for entertaing.

These days, budget-friendly parties aren't so hard to achieve. After all, who doesn't love a potluck or BYOB gathering? Décor doesn't have to be extravagant, only classic; and menus don't have to be elaborate — simple is in. Stick to a few items per menu rather than lots of food prepared hastily; it will impress your guests.

Most importantly, time is money, and there are lots of ways to save your time, too. Thirty-minute dinners are quick and easy, even after a late night at the office. Plus, you can cut down on your time cooking with easy solutions, like preparing ingredients beforehand or buying "convenience" foods.