The Instant Pot Saved This Financial Expert at Least $100 on Groceries — Here’s How

published Jun 20, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Over the past two years that I’ve followed Kumiko Love, also known as The Budget Mom on Instagram, I’ve become so much more methodical about my personal finances. I can honestly say that TBM‘s detailed expense tracking system has made me a much more conscious spender and changed my outlook on money management as a whole. And who couldn’t use more of that in their life (especially right now)?

My favorite reason to follow Kumiko is her small-but-impactful monthly savings challenges. Whether it’s $20 Fridays, No-Spend November, or Freezer & Pantry May, you can bet I’m doing my best to stash some savings right along with her. A few months ago, I watched along as Kumiko committed to an Instant Pot challenge, in which she exclusively cooked dinners in her Instant Pot for a month straight. With her disciplined approach, she managed to save more than $100 on her average grocery budget. If you still don’t have an Instant Pot, Kumiko’s savings success might just push you to make the purchase.

I recently caught up with the financial expert to get to the bottom of just how she saved so much money and how you can do the same.

How did you choose this savings challenge?
“My savings challenges are random and are created based on the needs in my life at that time. I created the Instant Pot challenge because I needed more time during the evenings to complete other tasks, so my main focus was on making faster, easier meals. Since I had one at home, I decided to only cook using my Instant Pot for dinners and see what the results would be.”

How often did you go grocery shopping?
“I went grocery shopping every Sunday and created my Instant Pot Meal Plan each Sunday for the entire week. As far as ingredients go, I focused on using things I already had at home in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. Most of the time, I focused on building my recipes around the meats I already had in the freezer, as meat is usually the most expensive ingredient in a recipe. Because all that was left was additional ingredients, I usually only needed just one or two small items per recipe.”

How much money did you save?
Upon completing the challenge, I spent a total of $294 on groceries for my household of four for the month. (That included $52 that we spent on eating out. This was all before the stay-at-home orders.) My usual grocery budget is $400 a month, so in total I saved $106.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

What recipes did you cook?

What lessons did you learn from the Instant Pot challenge?
“Instant Pot recipes make a lot of food! This gave me leftovers for additional dinners and lunches, which made these meals go the distance. I also loved using my Instant Pot because it allowed me to cook frozen foods very quickly. Rather than having to go to the store often to buy fresh meat, I was able to buy frozen meat in bulk [and save even more money]. Overall, though, the biggest benefit I took away from the challenge was the time it saved me in the kitchen.”

Have you also noticed that your Instant Pot helps you save money on groceries? Discuss in the comments below!