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Cheap and Tasty: Cooking on a Budget

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 3

Eating at Home Will Save You Money

Cooking meals at home instead of eating out doesn't have to be expensive. Here are some of my best tips for creating fabulous but inexpensive meals for your family:

  • When you're cooking dinner, make bigger batches of things so you can freeze some for another meal. You can do this in a few ways. One way is to take a recipe and double it. One meal is for that day and the other one is put away in the freezer for another day. In that way you've cooked once but made two meals from that cooking session. Another way to do this is to cook a larger portion of meat or sauce (for example) you need for that day then put away the extra for the next time that you need it. 

Happy Couple Cooking
  • Use your leftovers to make new meals. On one day you can make a roast in the crockpot. The next day you can take the leftover meat and make a hearty stew with it. Another easy and quick meal is to make panini or simple sandwiches with that leftover meat, some bread and cheese. And those are just examples. You can actually do a lot more with some planning.
  • Eat more veggies than meats. Not only does this save some money but most health experts agree that Americans eat too much meat. In many recipes, the meat can be anywhere from half to three quarters of the required portion. 
  • Cook your beans from scratch. All beans are a fairly inexpensive protein when you buy them in a can. The price drops even more when you buy them and cook them yourself. You can do so in a pressure cooker or in a regular pot or crockpot. Just read the directions on the back the beans came in.
  • Use the grocery store circular to plan your meals for the coming week. Buy your main ingredients based on what's on sale that week. This also helps you to eat seasonally because often produce that's on sale is in season. Sometimes you can save money by buying items you use frequently in bulk while they're on sale as well.
  • Start cooking less expensive cuts of meat and poultry. The two cuts of beef that are cheapest are ground beef (the higher the fat content the cheaper it is by the pound) and flank steak (this is a pretty lean cut that is also otherwise known as London broil). Chicken is also cheaper when you buy one whole rather than parts by themselves or even more expensive boneless chicken breasts or thighs.

Often times we think that fast food is cheap but that's only for a short term. Eating fast food does a long-term number on your wallet and your body. Do yourself a favor by cooking at home. You'll save your money and a lot more. 

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Nov 19, 2011 8:52pm
Smart shopping can really cut down on the cost, too. Watching the sales and stocking up when you get a good price helps a lot.
Nov 22, 2011 1:53am
Aguy, word! My kids are so used to us shopping like this that they'll only ask to buy something if it has the yellow tag (sale tag). We've been able to really stretch our food dollars this way.
Nov 28, 2011 6:31am
Excellent tips! I, too, love to cook once and make multiple meals from a piece of meat. And, you are right, most people need to eat more vegetables. Good article; thanks for sharing.
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