Living on a tight budget is difficult, especially when it comes to food. It’s very easy to fall into a routine where all you buy is pasta, tuna, and bread, or you spend too much on food you never eat. There are five things to remember when cooking on a budget so that you save money, get good food and don’t waste. Here are some tips for cooking on a budget.
Planning ahead for your meals before you go shopping is absolutely crucial. Write down what meals you want to eat, and then write down the ingredient list. This way, you’re less likely to get something you don’t need (and won’t eat) or forget something.
See what you already have
Part of the planning process before you go to the store is checking your pantry/fridge/freezer against your recipe ingredient list to see what you already have. This way, you can also see if you can make any substitutions, like if you have cream of chicken mushroom already and the recipe calls for cream of chicken, you could probably just use what you have already and the recipe stays essentially the same.
Follow sales on essential items
Buying items on sale is an easy way to save money. Rather than buying whatever happens to be on sale, track sales so you only get essentials that you can stock up on and that won’t go bad. You can also freeze a lot of the more perishable items, like broths and herbs.
Learn to cook with inexpensive meat
Meat often takes up a significant amount of a weekly food budget. By choosing more inexpensive cuts, like chicken thighs, you can make delicious, nutritious meals without spending a ton of money on expensive meats.
Cook what’s in season
Fresh produce can be difficult to work into a food budget. Be smart about your meal planning and try to go with recipes that feature produce that’s in season. This way, you can get the best-tasting fruits and veggies and won’t have to pay as much because there’s more in stock.