10 Tips for Cooking on a Budget
While the cost of living continues to increase, many of us feel that our paycheques aren’t following suit and this can lead to a budget full of gaps. However, here’s some good news: you don’t have to compromise on a healthy lifestyle just because you’re strapped for cash. Here’s how to create healthy meals on a tight budget.
If you plan your meals in advance, you’ll have a clearer picture of how much you’ll have to spend in order to sustain yourself and your family. Plan meals which can be made in bulk and freeze leftovers for a meal or two another day.
Make a Shopping List
Going grocery shopping without a list is a very bad idea as you’ll most likely end up buying things you don’t need and overspending. Make a shopping list based on your meal plan and only buy what you need to create nutritious healthy meals.
Decide on a Budget
Before you head to the grocery store, take a look at your budget and decide on how much you’re able to spend. Make sure to keep a mental calculation of everything you put in your basket while shopping or use the calculator on your mobile phone to keep track.
Set Aside Money for Something Extra
Shopping on a strict budget can turn into a stressful, joyless experience if you’re not careful, so be sure to set aside a little bit of money for something nice for yourself and your family. Buy the ingredients to make a cake or cookies or buy something ready-made.
Cook Ahead of Time
Cooking in bulk ahead of time will not only save you money, but also time – which equates to more of both for AFL premiership betting! Set aside a day to cook various meals which can be frozen or used later in the week. For example: roast a chicken to use in salads, soups, or pasta later in the week, or a lasagne which can just be warmed up.
Eat Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables
While grocery stores like to make a big deal of everything readily available throughout the year, the truth is that season vegetables and fruits are not only tastier, but more cost effective. Only buy what’s in season and skip an ingredient if it’s too pricey.
Don’t Go Food Shopping Hungry
Ever walked into the grocery store ravenous with hunger and walked away with a trolley of bags overflowing so badly it looks like you bought the whole store? We’ve all done it! This is why it’s important to not go grocery shopping hungry as suddenly everything looks amazing.
Don’t Be Too Rigid
If your favourite brand of yoghurt or cheese is too expensive, why not try a different brand instead? Most grocery stores have weekly specials so next time you visit, your favourite brand may once again be affordable.
Buy Cheaper Cuts of Meat
While I would love to be able to eat a ribeye steak every night, it simply isn’t possible on a budget. While cheaper cuts of meat will take longer to cook, they are often more flavourful especially in soups and stews. Buy a whole chicken instead of pieces or meat on the bone instead of trimmed and boneless.
Consider Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday is a good idea as even cutting down how much meat you eat in one week could drastically improve your budget. Consider a lentil or bean chili instead of mincemeat or create a hearty vegetable curry instead.