Eating Frugally Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Beans on Toast

We all love to eat well but that doesn’t mean we can all afford to eat out very often. Cooking from scratch at home is the way forward when you want to eat good and tasty meals for less.

However, many people get stuck in their ways when it comes to meal planning, especially if they’re not particularly creative or daring in the kitchen. Making just a few changes to the way you approach cooking at home can make it easier to serve up interesting meals and save money at the same time. Read on to find how to do that.

Beans on Toast

Photo by Arena Photo

Try Out New Recipes
It can be hard to move away from the regular recipes that you know how to make and branch out into cooking new dishes. And often, when you look up a recipe it calls for one or more ingredients that you don’t have in the cupboard or fridge, and many celebrity chef recipes feature expensive ingredients that may not fit with your household budget.


But there are also lots of great budget recipes out there, both online and in book form. One of the most recent ones is a collaborative effort by Voucherbox and 22 food bloggers, which is freely available to anyone interested in eating well on a small budget. Packed with a mix of starters, mains and sweets, as well as a few condiment recipes, it's a good option if you're looking for new inspiration to refresh your weekly menu. With dishes such as spinach, sweet potato and bean soup, aubergine curry, and slow-cooked ox cheek goulash, you’re likely to find recipes that you’ve never tried before, all using common, frugal ingredients.

Shop Smart
To avoid pushing up the grocery bill, as Super Savvy Me suggests; don’t leave home without a shopping list, or a plan of what you’re going to cook. Going shopping without a list makes you more susceptible to picking out random foods as you go around the shop - things that may appeal to you, but don’t all fit together to produce wholesome and tasty meals. Or even worse, they're unhealthy snacks. It’s also likely to lead to you wasting more food. Sit down before you go to the supermarket and decide on a number of meals for the week ahead and then shop accordingly.

Shopping List

Photo by Pixabay

Don’t be afraid to buy frozen vegetables and fruit - these are just as good for you as the fresh version, and often cheaper. Also, try the supermarket's own or cheaper brands of the regular goods you buy. Allow your taste buds to be the judge on whether one brand of tinned tomatoes is worth the extra cost over another.

Increase the Veggie Content
You don’t have to go vegetarian to reduce your shopping bills, but by increasing the amount of veg in your diet and reducing the meat intake, you will save money. You can do this by putting less meat in a casserole and adding more vegetables or pulses, or by adding a couple of vegetarian meals to your weekly menu.

When you do cook meat, try cheaper cuts such as shin or shoulder. They may require longer cooking but they can be just as tasty. Similarly, if you’re buying chicken, buy a whole one, rather than just getting breasts or thigh fillets. It’s much better value this way, and will provide the basis for a couple of meals, not just one. Although you might have been avoiding the deli counter as you think it’s more expensive than buying packaged produce such as ham, it can actually save money as you can purchase an exact amount and not waste any.

Learn to Love Leftovers
If you make extra portions in an evening meal, pop leftovers in the fridge for lunch the next day, or in the freezer to have another time. Just make sure that you follow guidelines on defrosting and re-heating food so that your leftovers don’t leave you lying low!

A survey by LoveFoodHateWaste revealed that bread is one of the most wasted foods in the UK, with a quarter of British households throwing away bread before reaching the end of a loaf. If you struggle to eat a whole loaf of bread, think ahead and divide the loaf up, storing portions in the freezer when it’s at its freshest to defrost and use at another time. Or make some breadcrumbs for coating, bread pudding or one of the many other dishes where you can utilise the humble loaf.

Making a few changes to the way you shop, cook and eat at home will save you money and add interest to mealtimes. Set yourself a month’s challenge and see how different your weekly menu becomes - both in taste and in cost!

3 comments

  1. Some great ideas will definitely be giving these a try

    ReplyDelete
  2. I use my leftovers as my lunch the next day. Saves money and healthier than eating from the canteen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love planning recipes to use up leftovers! I'm going to have a look through that cookbook, thanks for the link.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment - much appreciated.
Cheers
Jan

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