I love to eat. Therefore, I needed to learn about budget cooking. My brother likes expensive foods like meat, and he loves made-from-scratch cooking and my sister-in-law loves to cook. I like healthy, organic foods. When they set up a budget, they struggled with how to cook really great meals and not spend a fortune.
With the price of food going up all the time, they decided one week to eat all cheap frozen food instead of cooking from scratch. Unfortunately, they had indigestion, heartburn, and upset stomachs all week.
So how do you start cooking healthy, hearty meals on a budget? It is possible, but it takes some effort. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way:
1. Plan your weekly menu in advance. Write down a simple list of what meal you will be having each day, then prepare a grocery list of the ingredients needed for those meals. Don’t forget to add items you children will need for breakfast and school lunches. Budget cooking requires planning ahead.
Microsoft Office Template for a Printable Grocery List
2. Plan a few inexpensive meals. This does not mean you have to eat low quality frozen stuff, but it does mean that you can plan one or two meatless dinners. A good example is pasta with tomato sauce. Also plan ahead for ingredients for school lunches for the week.
3. Try to comparison shop. It is a good idea to get the Sunday paper, and compare what the stores have on sale. If a local grocery store is having a wonderful sale on chicken, be sure to stock up. Another store may have a bargain on beef.
I have to add, sometimes as a mom of young children, I didn't get the time to shop at three different stores. If this is your problem, compare to see which store has the best prices overall, and shop there. You can still do a great job at budget cooking!
4. If you have not tried Aldi Foods, then shoot on over. Their prices are cheap and their selection is good. Winco is also another great low budget grocery store.