I am a member of Project Envolve, which is sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities. I received compensation in exchange for writing about how to save money on your electric bill, and affiliate links are included. All opinions are my own. #ProjectEnvolve #GetEnvolved
If you’re looking to save money this summer, look no further than your kitchen. What you buy, cook and eat can really impact your summer expenses, from your grocery bill to your utilities. Project Envolve is all about helping you learn how to lower your electric bill, and this month’s mission is no exception. It’s all about seasonal food and how your cooking method can help you save money on your summer electric bill, so I’m offering up my best tips, along with some from our team.
1. Shop the circular. Your local produce department is sure to be stocked with summer-fresh produce at its peak. On top of being ripe and delicious, most fruits and veggies are likely to be at an all-time low price. Eat in season and reap the benefits not only for your health, but for your budget, too. And while you’re checking the circular for seasonal prices, don’t forget to check things like barbecue sauce, napkins and ketchup. You’ll save on those, too, and they’ll keep all year.
2. Pick your favorites. Think beyond the traditional grocery store! Hit up your local orchard or U-pick farm. You’ll save on per-pound prices, and most fruits can be frozen for several months. Just be sure to freeze berries loosely on a baking sheet in a single layer first so they don’t all stick together. Once frozen, bag them up and toss right back into the freezer.
3. Take a second look. When you’re visiting your local produce supplier, ask them about purchasing seconds. We do this at our local orchard, and we often get large quantities of peaches, plums, pears and apples at a fraction of the cost. This helps them sell their imperfect fruit instead of wasting it, and you’ll score an incredible deal. (Often, the only thing wrong with the fruit is a few surface imperfections. We once got a whole bushel of beautiful plums at half price just because they were doubles that had grown together!)
Worried about what you’ll do with all that fruit? Save it! No worries if you’re not familiar with canning. You can find a canning instructions ebook for just .99 on Amazon, or you could invest in a handy FoodSaver.
4. Buy in bulk. It’s not just produce that goes on sale during the summer. Meat prices get slashed, too – especially bulk packs! Think pork chops, ground beef, chicken breasts or legs, and sausage. Take it from an insider – those grocery companies want you to fill that grill, but smart shoppers know that you can break up those bulk packs and freeze them in smaller packs for the whole year.
5. Nice segue, right? Filling your grill during the summer can help you save money in multiple ways, all while preparing a delicious, easy meal that will have your neighbors peeking out their back doors to see what’s cooking. Firing up the grill makes use of the tips above, and you’ll save big using those bulk-pack meats, seasonal produce favorites and featured circular items like condiments and sides. But did you ever think about the other ways grilling can save you money?
Grilling outside can really drive down your electric bill in several ways. First, you won’t be using your appliances (especially if you use all the racks and grill your side dishes, too.) Second, you won’t be heating up your house. That leads to a third benefit, not having to crank your AC to cool it back down.
And can we just talk about the dishes? Grilling uses so few dishes and cuts out the need for pots and pans, so you’ll be cleaned up in no time. That means fewer loads in the dishwasher, less hot water, and more importantly, less time spent loading, unloading, and hand washing.
Can I get a high five on that, please?
There seems to be a point each year when I’m just over the whole grilling thing, and I get bored with burgers and chicken. But really, there’s so much more that you can do with your grill. Project Envolve has provided a few tips to help with summer grilling inspiration. When it comes to charcoal, gas or even an open fire pit, the only limit really is your imagination.
Tell your tired old stove to take a nap. Pizza, sandwiches, dessert, even nachos – they’re all grillable! One of my favorites is a grilled sandwich made with a Boboli crust brushed with pesto and filled with meats and cheeses. I’m definitely trying the brick trick (below) the next time I make it. And as you can see, we love to throw unexpected favorites on the fire, like grilled watermelon. Top it with goat cheese and a chiffonade of fresh basil and you’ve got a side dish that is anything but ho-hum.
Here are a few more grilling hacks from the Project Envolve team to inspire you to turn off the oven and get out that grill to save money on your summer electric bill!
For more, visit The Wire, a blog powered by PPL Electric Utilities, and check out their latest grilling tips. If you’re ready to eat, grab some peaches and get sweet on my Grilled Peach and Onion Chutney!
Do you grill often? Have you ever considered the energy savings factor before?