How to Cook on a Budget

How to Cook on a Budget

In these increasingly tough economic times, it's more important than ever to do things on a budget:  Shop on a budget, go out on a budget, and perhaps most importantly, cook on a budget.  Unfortunately, many people think that cooking on a budget means sacrificing taste and nutrition, which does not have to be the case.  Equipped with budget-friendly menu ideas, even the most hard-core foodie can make meals, sides, even desserts —and not break the bank.


One way to make cooking on a budget easier is to buy in bulk.  Many of us belong to warehouse clubs such as Sam's Club or Costco.  While it may not seem first...for a single person to shop there, you might just be surprised.  You're not going to need 5 pounds of flour or sugar today, but if you really plan to cook more and eat out less (another key to budget living), you're going to need those ingredients.  No one is suggesting you go out and buy a giant-sized package of honey if you have no intention of using it, there may be some staples it would make sense for you to buy in bulk.  If you don't already belong to a warehouse club, take advantage of the "free for a day" offer that most of them have.  This gives you a chance to mosey around the store for a day and check everything out to help determine if it makes sense to sign up for membership.  If it doesn't make sense for you, no sweat.  At least you checked for free.


How to Cook on a Budget


Now, for some low-budget recipes.  Start your meal with something warm and wonderful like this Vegetable Chicken Noodle Soup.  Comfort food that's budget-friendly is what this vegetable chicken noodle soup is all about. Make the full batch, or cut it down to feed a smaller crowd. Any way you make it, this soup is deeee-licious, and the extra veggies make it healthy too.  Another cheap, easy starter is Spam Chowder.


As main courses go, this Black Bean Casserole is a surefire winner.  Black bean lovers will love this simple casserole recipe. It pairs perfectly with garlic lime chicken or steak. The best thing about this recipe is that the ingredients are inexpensive, but it will still feed a whole crowd.  Another easy budget stretcher is this Chicken and Rice with Gravy dinner.


You've got to have tasty side dishes, of course, and this Loaded Baked Potato Casserole is just one example. Not feeling like potatoes?  How about this Pineapple Side Dish Casserole instead?


Cooking on a budget by no means you have to give up the sweet things in life, and by "sweet," I mean "dessert."  There are plenty of dessert recipes that fit into a low-budget lifestyle.  Take these peanut butter cookies for instance.  Not only are they budget-friendly, you can even have them if you have a gluten intolerance!  Perhaps it is the aptly named Poor Man's Cake that is the fitting end to your budget-conscious meal.  Think you can't enjoy a sweet treat when you're living on a tight budget?  Think again! It's a yummy way to end your meal.


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I love how many recipes organically fit in this article! I'm always looking for budget-friendly recipes to try at home!

I grew up in a family that knew how to stretch a dollar. As such, I am the queen of stretching the grocey budget in my own home! If you are looking to save some money, always try to price match and read your flyers carefully. Use coupons when you can and always try to have your grocery list handy and updated so that you are not tempted in to impulse buys. I also suggest buying multi-use ingredients that can be repurposed into multiple meals for your family. Also, cook in big batches to freeze ahead! If you are going to be expending the time and energy to cook, you might as well get a bunch of meals out of the way in one go. Then you just have to reheat the food at a later time. So easy! With a bit of thought, you can really stretch your budget.


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