Most of us are in the same boat nowadays, the economy is in tatters, the cost of living is climbing sky high, but all of us still have our favorite foods. Surviving off of frozen meals is one thing, but we all know they are not exactly good for us.
If you’re anything like the people on Cooks Dream website, then you love making your own meals, fresh and delicious, and the thought of eating a frozen ready meal is enough to make you gag.
Rightly so in some cases. Sure, you can get the odd decent bit of frozen grub, but there is nothing quite like cooking your own meal to perfection, is there? Nope. So, how do you do that when you’re on a budget?
We would start by saying, choose the right ingredients, want a steak? Buy sirloin instead of filet, want some dish, go with trout or salmon, instead of something more expensive like bass.
Aside from that, check out our 5 tips to help you save money when cooking at home, and still cook up some delicious plates!
Tip #1. All In One Go!
When you cook, consider that one meal could lead to another and then another, and then another. Look at your pantry, freezer, and fridge, and look at your space to create a week of meals. Plan ahead.
If you have a family favorite dish, make it in bulk, then freeze or refrigerate what you can save for the week ahead. You may not want it every day, but every other day is a great plan.
This can save you from preparing various different meals for the whole week ahead, instead you will have some meals ready made for you to enjoy, so you do not need so many different ingredients.
Sure, it does not work for everyone, but it can be a great money saving idea for many of us.
Tip #2. Buying Fresh Is Expensive, Try Dried!
This does not necessarily work for everything but when it comes to herbs and spices, you can spend an arm and a leg just trying to afford some fresh parsley.
So, instead of paying out your rear end for fresh herbs and spices, try buying dried herbs and spices instead. They won’t always have the same effect, but they can save you a pretty penny in a recipe.
Some things like fresh garlic are not always expensive and dried garlic can be more expensive. So, your best option is to look at the fresh vs dried options and look at which is cheaper.
Tip #3. Meat Can Be A Side!
We tend to think of meat as the main part of a dish, but the truth is it does not have to be. Meat can be a side. When we consider how we should be eating, carbs and veg need to be taking up the most of a meal, so a pasta dish, or a potato dish with some meat on the side is a perfectly good option for dinner.
It can actually be better for your health and better for the planet too. Especially with dark meats, as good as dark meats like beef taste, cutting back can be better for your heart.
Tip #4. Buy In Bulk
At first, it may seem counterproductive to buy in bulk, but actually it can be a smart move. Some items do not spoil with time, and others can live a long life in your freezer, some things like potatoes, vegetables, and even some fruits can be left out for ages, or can live in the freezer.
If you have a decent amount of space, you can actually save yourself a huge chunk of money buying in bulk. If you go to a mass distributor where you can buy these things in bulk for a better price than Walmart is offering, we highly recommend doing so.
Tip #5. Leftovers? Pfft, Tomorrow’s Lunch!
We have a terrible habit of throwing out the food we didn’t eat last night, but why should we?
If you have some minced meat left over, you can cook that up and use it in tomorrow’s dinner. Do you have some beef left over from your dinner? Slice it up, it will go great in a sandwich for lunch!
There are so many things you can do with leftovers, and it saves on buying other things for the next day. Make use of yesterday’s unwanted as today’s delicious.
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