Shopping & Budgeting Tips from Chef Michael Van Houten

Shopping & Budgeting Tips from Chef Michael Van Houten

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris

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PhillyBite Chef 101Philadelphia, PA - One of the greatest benefits of from-scratch cooking is the cost saving factor. Purchasing “raw products” and creating a healthy, delicious meal is rewarding. When my wife and I grocery shop, she spends some time creating a good shopping list, which leads us to saving between 40-50% on our grocery bill. Here are some other tips;

Coupons – An obvious but often overlooked cost saving method. Those circulars that clog up your mailbox are useful. There is a trick to keep in mind when using coupons, which is something that grocery stores don’t wish for you to know. That is saving your coupons until the items go on sale. Most stores allow consumers to use manufacturers coupons while those items are on sale. Now that $1.00 off coupon can go even further.

Unit Pricing – This is an awareness concept. Stores will have pricing tags throughout the store, with the goal of capturing your attention. Those prices on those brands aren’t always the cheapest. Brands use packaging that is intended to appear bigger than they are. You’ll want to compare the total cost versus the net weight of the item between brands.

Generic VS Name Brands – it may seem instinctive to be drawn to the name brands, either through their packaging or due to their reputation and marketing campaigns. Keep in mind that most generic brands are just a private label version of the name brand. Meaning in most cases the generic brand is literally the same product as the name brand, just in different packaging.

Doing The Work – It has been years since I have bought ground meat. Why? Because I began grinding my own meat. I use a grinding attachment on my Kitchen Aid. You can also use a food processor.

Tip – cube up the meat you are going to grind, and then slightly freeze it for a better grind.) The reason I elected to do this is twofold; I save a lot of money by doing the work myself, and the final product is healthier because I am choosing which cut of meat I would like to grind. This concept can be applied across the board. Buying fresh produce and making your own vegetable blends as another example.

I would like to thank you for reading my guide to From-Scratch Cooking. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a free consultation, please don’t hesitate to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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