Cooking cheap is super easy, anyone can do it! All you need to know are the basics to help you get started. Here are my 10 commandments for cooking on a budget.
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead ensures you only buy what you need when you go to the store and prevents those spur of the moment splurges on snacks or ingredients you’re unlikely to use for your next meal prep.
2. Buy in bulk
Buying your groceries in bulk is much cheaper than buying in dribs and drabs or on a meal-to-meal basis. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten into the habit of buying groceries on a meal-to-meal basis but I try and balance that out by setting a limit on how much I can spend on each trip to the grocery store.
3. Make sure your pantry is always fully stocked
As I mentioned in my 5 pantry must-haves, you need to make sure your pantry is always stocked up on any must-haves or basics that you need for cooking because it helps reduce how much you end up spending on ingredients for each meal prep.
4. Cook in bulk
I feel this commandment works better if you’re staying on your own because kids and a husband (or a boyfriend) are often too fussy to eat the same food over a few days but it’s definitely a time- and money-saver for me. When I cook, I usually end up with around 4 – 6 servings (8, if I’m lucky) and that covers lunch for 2 – 3 days.
5. Have enough Tupperware
If you’re cooking in bulk, make sure you have enough Tupperware – and if you’re using your mother’s Tupperware, make sure you bring it back with the lid!
6. Take-away condiments = free flavour
So, this is a tip I got from Struggle Meals and according to Frankie the free condiment sachets that come with your take-aways are the one thing you can store in your pantry that adds flavour to your dish at no cost! I don’t get a lot of take-out so I haven’t jumped onto this bandwagon yet.
7. Look for the latest bulk deals in store catalogues
Bulk deals are important for your pantry – that’s my motto! I do all my shopping at Checkers (shout-out!) so I rarely check out any catalogues from any other stores but Game is a great one for bulk deals. Unfortunately, the only gripe I have with Game is that their groceries store section is never decently stocked, particular their meat section. You guys really need to get that fixed!
8. Use ingredients that can stretched
Try to buy ingredients that you can use across various dishes. For example, when buying stir fry vegetables and use it for a particular stir fry dish, you can use any leftovers for a couscous dish or create your own make shift salad.
9. Freeze, freeze, freeze
If you have any leftovers, freeze it and use it as a base for your next meal.
10. Use your leftovers
Always try and think of creative ways you can use leftovers and never waste it by throwing it away or letting it go bad in the fridge.
What are some of your commandments for budget cooking? I’d love to hear from you!