Of all of the things you can do, learning to cook and cooking most of your meals at home is probably one of the best ways to improve your financial future.  Meals out are a huge expense, not to mention the sodium content and calories.  If you just eat in most meals, limiting your eating out to about a meal a week, and invest what you would have spent at the restaurants you can easily retire a multi-millionaire just from the savings.

Unfortunately, with the push to the two-earner household of the 1960’s many twenty and thirty-somethings today have no idea how to cook.  All of their meals were at restaurants or they grew up on pre-processed, frozen meals.  Many people also feel that they don’t have time for cooking at home.  For this reason, the next few blog posts will give some of the basics for learning to cook and some tips to save time.  If you plan it right, you could actually spend less time cooking than you spent driving to and then waiting at restaurants to eat.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Don’t try to cook like someone from the Food Network.  Also, forget those elaborate recipes you find in the cooking magazines that require umpteen ingredients.  Just learn how to make the basic meals (chicken, pork chops, hamburgers, fish, spaghetti, stew, etc…).

2.  Buy a general cookbook that will give you the basics. Good ones are The Joy of Cooking and Betty Crocker.

3.  It takes the same amount of time to make six portions as four.  Cook a little extra and you’ll have a lunch that is the envy of your office the next day.

4.  Make a big salad and keep it in your refrigerator covered in plastic wrap.  Only put in lettuce, carrots, and celery.  Add things like tomatoes (that don’t do well in the refrigerator) during the meal to each portion.  You can also make a big portion of soup and heat some up for meals during the week.

5.  Many meals freeze well.  Make a double portion one week, then freeze and reheat the next week.  Be sure to write the date you made it and plan to eat it within a month or so.

6.  Plan you meals.  Write what you plan to eat during the week or next two weeks then make your grocery list from the ingredients needed.  Freeze any meats you won’t use for at least three days.  The day before the meal, put the meat for the next meal in the refrigerator so that it will be defrosted and ready to go (it will taste better if not defrosted in the microwave too).

7.  The crock pot is your friends.  All of your soups and stews, and even things like ribs and chicken can be made in the crock pot.   You can even put them together the night before, put it in the refrigerator, then start it on low in the morning before work.  When you get home, you’ll have a hot meal waiting.

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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice.  It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA.  All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.