General Tips for Cooking on a Budget

Preparing meals at home saves money, but it can take a little more time than eating out. Though that time is completely worth it–your body will thank you after you feed it a home-cooked meal instead of a fast food meal–no one wants to spend too much time in the kitchen after coming home from an already long day. Here are some tips that will help you save time and money.

A watch rests on top of a five dollar bill
Save time and money | Photo by Elizabeth Layman
  • Cook foods you already have in your kitchen.
  • Fruits and vegetables are good value for your money! Include some frozen, canned, and fresh forms of fruits and vegetables on your list.
  • Plan to include fruits and vegetables you can grab as quick snacks or turn into soups or other meals.
  • Have a balance between fresh foods and prepackaged foods.
  • Some foods have their ingredient labels online in large print, so check this before you go shopping and then, make informed decisions.
  • Stick to your shopping list to avoid spending money on unneeded items.
  • Use coupons and reward cards to stretch your food dollars. Check grocery store ads for specials every week.
  • Go to large supermarkets instead of local convenience stores because the prices are usually lower in the large supermarkets.
  • At the store, check ingredients and compare weights and unit prices on packaged food products, or ask a store clerk or your personal assistant to help you. Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, so to speak.
  • Buy store brands, which are less expensive than name brands.
  • Buy beans because they are healthy and affordable.
  • Buy in bulk and try to choose foods that you can make into several different meals so you don’t end up wasting them.
  • Before you go shopping, plan menus for the next few days or for the next week and make a shopping list accordingly.
On a legal pad is an example shopping list and weekly menu; there is a pen nearby
Make a menu and a shopping list | Photo by Elizabeth Layman
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