What are the Best Tips for Cooking on a Budget?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 22 May 2018
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Cooking on a budget does not have to mean boring, unappetizing meals if you shop at wholesale outlets and clip coupons. Buying large quantities in bulk can sometimes save you money as well. Packing a nutritious lunch for school or work, rather than eating out can also save money. Cooking casserole-type dishes can go a long way, and you can add nutritious vegetables to pasta as well.

Knowing how to use leftovers and create a hearty meal for tomorrow's dinner is another way of cooking on a budget. Stews and soups can make a hearty base for a main course. Tonight's leftover soup can be a large portion of tomorrow's dinner.

Using creativity and imagination can actually make cooking on a budget fun. For instance, vegetables and orzo pasta make great additions to leftover soup. Pack it in the kids' lunchbox and they will have a nutritional low-cost lunch. Add a piece of fruit and some crackers and lunch is ready.

A good idea for cooking on a budget is to join a wholesale shopping club. These outlets typically charge a yearly fee, but in the long run, it can save the average family a considerable amount of money on everyday cooking essentials. Basic household food items can be purchased in bulk, saving time and money. An added bonus to belonging to a club is not having to plan frequent shopping trips, because buying in bulk is so convenient.


Another strategy for cooking on a budget is to make small, insignificant changes or even sacrifices. For instance, rather than cooking with butter, substitute margarine. It costs less and is generally a healthier alternative.

An important step to cooking on a budget is not only finding budget recipes, but checking the weekly grocery store flyer for current specials. Sometimes supermarkets feature unadvertised specials as well. More importantly, looking through the Sunday newspaper for coupons can save money. Even if coupons won't be used during the next shopping trip, there's a good chance of using them before the expiration date. Staying organized by keeping coupons in a special folder can help.

Buying large bags of store-brand cereal for the kids can save money, and be just as tasty. In fact, there are many store-brand items that are good quality and are less expensive than name-brand products. Surprisingly, the difference adds up significantly at the end of the month.

Last but not least, tasty recipes for cooking on a budget can be found on the Internet. Doing a smart search can often lead to some fresh and exciting ways to create budget-friendly meals the entire family can enjoy. The great thing about budget recipes is being able to add extras that will stretch a meal even further.



Discuss this Article

Post 4

Does anyone know of any healthy recipes on a budget? So much of healthy eating is about eating fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables and on an on. But these are the most expensive things in the store. How do I eat well for cheap?

Post 3

I have been able to save a lot of money on my cooking bills by finding about a dozen cheap easy dinner recipes and then stocking up on the ingredients I need whenever they are on sale. I am talking about things like noodles, sauces, frozen veggies, cream of mushroom soup, etc. If you pay attention all of these things will get drastically discounted during occasional sales.

I have a big pantry and a deep freeze in the basement so it is not hard to stockpile groceries. Both my husband and I work so we don't have a lot of time to plan elaborate meals and shop at the market. We need quick and easy recipes that we can make fast and that everyone likes.

Post 2

Growing your own fruits and vegetables as much as possible is a great way to save money in the kitchen. Even better, have a couple of backyard chickens that will provide eggs and the occasional bit of meat.

You would be surprised how much you can grow on even small pieces of land or in pots or window boxes. At the very east you can grow fresh herbs which are often very expensive to buy in the stores. Making your own ingredients is probably the best way to save money on cooking because it costs so little and the quality is so much higher.

Post 1

Three words, beans and rice. There is a reason that this is the primary diet of tens of millions of people around the world. It is cheap, easy, filling and nutritious. I pretty much lived on this stuff through my 20s when I was especially broke.

If you buy your beans dried you can make yourself a bowl of beans and rice for a matter of pennies. A big pot of beans and a big pot of rice can last you all week. And you can get fancy with the seasonings if you have a little more money to spend and want some variety. But don't take my word for it. Trust the millions of pounds of beans and rice that will be eaten at the world's dinner tables tonight.

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