Cheap Ways to Learn to Cook & DIY at Home

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The World. It can be a very scary place, especially for introverts. We like to stay in more often than not, and while that lends itself to cheap-assery, there are definitely ways we can enjoy our peaceful alone time a little more frugally.

Learn To Cook

Or, cook more often, if you already know how. Food can be one of the biggest budget sucks, especially if you’re ordering take-out all the time. And those cheap little microwavey things, while convenient, aren’t going to help you live a longer life or feel spritely if you consume them all the time. If you are a novice, I highly recommend starting with any or all of these options:

Alton Brown’s television showGood Eats.” Alton actually started as a television producer who wanted to make cooking shows more entertaining, but he ended up with an extremely popular show that delves into the science and history of food, and viewers (even seasoned chefs such as myself) walk away from every episode having learned something new. If you’re lacking confidence, give it a try. Just find an episode whose theme is a favorite food of yours and I promise you will walk away feeling confident that you can make the dish successfully. Unfortunately, the show was removed from Netflix this year, but that’s nothing a little activism can’t fix, right?

Jamie Oliver’s YouTube channel, FoodTube. Jamie is a chipper British chef who meets with other celebrity chefs and YouTube Food Gurus to create each instructional video. This channel is one of the most informative one I’ve ever ran across, regardless of genre. You’ll be able to explore different techniques from an expert standpoint, but they do not assume the viewer is an expert, and because of that the educational quality of each installment is stellar. But don’t let that fool you into thinking these are boring how-tos: Jamie, his guests, and his rotating cast of Foodie characters are all very entertaining.

Kevin Lynch’s blog, Closet Cooking. I absolutely love this blog because Kevin starts out by teaching you how to make a basic dish, like roasted pork, and then gives you several ways to re-use the leftovers in different preparations. You’ll save money by never getting so bored of leftovers that you throw them away, and the more you practice the art of re-purposing things, the better you’ll get at it, and cooking in general.

All of those are great places for the beginner to start, but they’re also very inspiring to experienced home cooks as well. I also love Epicurious, because you can search for recipes based on the food you already have lying around. And hey, we’ve got a few broke-ass recipes lying around, as well.

learning to cook

You Don’t Need Cable Television

Or satellite, or whatever service you pay for to receive channels. Seriously. This day in age, there is absolutely no reason to pay for television when their are so many free online archives and incredibly cheap streaming services at your fingertips.

The only thing you need is internet, and since you’re already paying for that, you might as well utilize it to whack away any unnecessary expenses it can. You can definitely figure out how to get just about everything you’d get on live television. You just might have to be a little patient about it. If you’re worried about your bill going up because of all the downloading and streaming and such, consider adding internet service to your cell phone bill. Combining the two will often result in a cheaper price for both, and there are even companies that don’t count any amount of streaming against your data usage for the month.

Cut Down On Electricity

I’m sure you read that and thought, “Duh! Everyone knows that.” But it’s not as easy as it sounds. So, here are several actionable ways to lower your electricity bill:

Use energy efficient lightbulbs, and always look for an energy star rating whenever you buy a new appliance or electronic anything.

Buy a programmable thermostat. They’re super cheap, and they allow to you turn the heat/air down while you’re away without worrying about coming home to a freezing/molten lava hot home.

Line dry your laundry. I realize this likely won’t work for anyone who has to travel via vehicle to a laundromat, but for everyone else this is a great money saver. Line-dried laundry is known for being stiff, but that can easily be fixed by tossing the items in the dryer for five minutes, which still cuts your dryer usage down by over 90%. Added budgeting bonus: your clothes will last much longer if they’re line dried!

Turn the damn lights off when you leave the damn room. What, were you raised in a freaking barn?

Get a Snuggie, or a Slanket, or ask your grandma to make you one. Wear it all winter. What introvert doesn’t like being wrapped in a warm, cozy blanket all day? The initial investment will pay off in lower electrical bills. And if you’re a little too active to be wearing a blanket all the time, I highly recommend the Thuggie:

T-Pain Thuggie

T-Pain 40 oz Thuggie

DIY, Yo…

DIYing things (usually) saves a lot of money, and you don’t have to delve into the Pinterest rabbit hole to become a DIY expert. Just dig around the internet for a bit and you’ll see that you’re paying for convenience much more often than you think you are. You can make a lot of the stuff that you already buy, like cleaning supplies and beauty essentials, and it’s usually cheaper and better than the store-bought version anyways.

When it comes to home decor and renovations and such, doing it yourself can get expensive, but it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of ways you can DIY your decor for a mere dollar, like making your own lighting fixtures, pillowcases, and even furniture with stuff that’s either cheap, or already lying around your place.

Hanging around the house a lot can get boring at times, so even a few little crafty DIY things here and there are a good, and healthy, way to occupy your time. If a few little craft projects aren’t enough to satiate you, don’t stop there. You can basically DIY your entire life if you have the right tools.

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AJ Earley - Persnickety Provocateur

AJ Earley - Persnickety Provocateur

AJ is a private chef, freelance writer, somewhat transient traveler, and root beer float aficionado who decided to pursue her passions despite the fact that they often leave her pockets a little emptier than they could be. She can cook and she can write and she likes to romp around the globe and have fun... why the f*** is she still single?