This post is from guest writer Steph of Cheapskate Cook
You know that moment when you first open your brand new Instant Pot?
The styrofoam screeches a little as you lift it out of the box, the clouds part, and angels sing choruses about how much easier your kitchen life will be from now on.
Then it sits on your counter for weeks, reproaching you every time you start something on the stove or pull out that familiar, trusty slow cooker.
Here’s the thing. We all know programmable pressure cookers are amazing. We know they save us time. We know they save our tails when we forget to thaw chicken for dinner. Or can’t think ahead enough to use the slow cooker.
However, the miracle that is the Instant Pot has another superpower that few people mention.
The Instant Pot Can Save you a Ton of Money
Eating real food is expensive, but at our house, it’s non-negotiable. My kids frequently discuss natural sweeteners and eating vegetables. They’re learning to cook real food through Katie’s Kids cook Real food eCourse.
We also try to do it as cheaply as possible. When my husband and I first got married, I had $25/week for groceries and a passion for whole food (“real food” wasn’t even a thing yet). Over the years, we learned where to spend our money and how to stretch our meat. We learned to make friends with local farmers and get the best deals. I created real food menu plans that cost half the average grocery budget and shared it with other people.
I didn’t think we could do much better. I was wrong.
5 Easy Ways To Save Money with the Instant Pot
1. Bone Broth
We make our own because it’s FREE, and that’s a powerful word in the real food world. Bone broth used to take 12-24 hours to make in a slow cooker before I could turn it into soup. Now I can start it in the morning and serve finished soup for lunch. Suddenly, we’re eating more soup made with free bones and inexpensive seasonal vegetables than we ever have. Our meals grew more nutritious and less expensive.
Save even more money and make 3 batches with one set of bones using Katie’s method!
Canned beans cost significantly more than cooking your own dry beans. They aren’t that difficult to cook, but I always struggled to do it. Between starting them several days in advance for the slow cooker, or babysitting them for hours on the stove – not to mention the sulfurous smell that filled my house, they were my Achilles’ heel. With the Instant Pot, beans are ready in an hour AND my house doesn’t stink all day.
3. Homemade Yogurt
Homemade yogurt costs a fraction of store bought, especially if you’re purchasing organic or local. The thing is….I keep burning it. Somewhere between kid #3 and downloading the Instagram (I hope you follow Katie like I do!), my concentration in the kitchen plummeted.
When I put the phone down so I can focus on the yogurt, kid #3 needs an emergency diaper. Suddenly, another batch of raw milk dies on my stove. I can make it in the slow cooker, but that becomes an all-day affair. The Instant Pot put homemade yogurt back in my kitchen.
4. More Meals at Home
Maybe you’re like me and have a lot of great ideas when it comes to eating well. There’s the menu planning, the fun recipes, and the #mealprepmondays. However, in some seasons, making dinner every night is hard. While I love taking a couple slow evenings to cook dinner, some nights we have soccer practice. Sometimes people are sick. Sometimes I forget to start dinner until too late.
The Instant Pot helps my family eat at home more – even when I forget, or something comes up, or people fall ill. Having the ability to go from frozen ground beef to fully cooked in an hour is a real dinner saver.
5. More Meatless Meals
Because beans and bone broth are so much quicker to make, we eat a lot more of both. Meatless Monday takes a lot less forethought and creativity. Suddenly, we’re celebrating Meatless Wednesday and Meatless Thursday too.
How the Instant Pot Can Save you Time
Let me be clear: do I need the Instant Pot to accomplish all these tasks? No. People have been eating real food for thousands of years.
However, in order to prepare real food the frugal way – dry beans, bone broth, homemade yogurt – we can spend A LOT of time in the kitchen. We live in a modern world and have different demands on our time than we did thousands of years ago.
My programmable pressure cooker is a game-changer. It saves me time and brain-space, so my family can eat well.
It’s also a powerful money-saving tool. By using it to accomplish these core frugal real food concepts – making your own bone broth and yogurt, cooking dry beans, eating at home, and serving meatless meals – you save a lot of money, and it’s easier than ever.