Are you looking for some great ideas that will allow you to cook family meals on a budget? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ve landed in exactly the right place! It’s something that I’ve mastered recently, and I’m here to share my ideas with you.
I recently created a post that lets you into the secrets behind how I managed to save £100 on our monthly grocery shopping bill. It’s full of tips that help you to consider how you can spend less in the supermarket. Just as important though is how you cook family meals on a budget, and how you create menus that please everyone. Here are some things that you might want to try…
Batch cook and fill up the freezer
It’s common knowledge that when we buy ingredients in bulk, we often pay much less. You can use this to your advantage by whipping up large batches of your favourite meals, and popping portions into the freezer to enjoy at a later date.
You can do this with all kinds of meals, though a few of my personal favourites are chilli con carne, bolognese, and curries. Simply add a portion of vegetables or salad, and you’ve got a feast put together in hardly any time at all.
Get that slow cooker out of the cupboard
My slow cooker is my most used kitchen item, and it really helps me to cook family meals on a budget. Because a slow cooking process really tenderises meat, you can get away with buying cheaper cuts.
These slow cooker recipes will give you a load of inspiration, but remember that you don’t always have to follow the rules. Add meat, any vegetables that are in your store cupboard, and your favourite spices. You can create creations that are totally your own, and ensure that you aren’t left with any unnecessary waste.
Get experimental by using ingredients you already have in the house
Many of us do a weekly food shop just because it’s a part of our usual routine. A lot of the time though, you don’t need anything at all to be able to cook a healthy, wholesome, and delicious meal. Before you go on your next shopping trip, go through your cupboards, your fridge, and your freezer.
The vast majority of the time, you’ll discover that you really don’t need to go shopping. You simply need to use up what you have, even if that means getting a little experimental with new recipes.
Bulk up meals with cheaper items
Meat is typically the most expensive ingredient that you’ll buy. You can keep costs lower by bulking out your favourite dishes with extra vegetables, beans, and pulses.
You often won’t notice any difference at all, and you’ll be packing in tons more nutrients.
Go meat-free for at least one day a week
I’m a big meat eater, and my all-time favourite meal is a sirloin steak served with all the trimmings. But I realised that we were in the habit of eating meat every single night of the week, and that it wasn’t necessarily healthy or great for our budget management.
So we now make sure that we always have meat free Mondays. I’ve got a great vegetable curry recipe, and it costs next to nothing to put together. This approach has definitely made me appreciate meat a lot more, and it creates a little spare cash that we occasionally use to treat ourselves to that sirloin!
Make sure that everyone’s eating the same meal
Lots of families get into the habit of cooking different meals each night to please everyone. This can be really stressful, create more work than necessary, and blow your budget.
Encourage fussy eaters to try new things, and commit to making just one meal. It may be easier said than done, but in the long term, it’ll make a huge difference to your family life.
What are your best tips for cooking family meals on a budget?