Creating beautiful meals doesn’t have to break the bank. By using these simple tips you can create gourmet feasts that will satisfy even the fussiest eater, while saving you valuable dollars at the same time.
Make a list
Sticking to a budget starts at the supermarket. You can easily get distracted by all the items on sale, so make a list before you go to ensure you only buy what you really need.
Have you ever noticed how expensive tomatoes are in the middle of winter? Or how much a punnet of strawberries will cost you in June? That’s because fruit and veggies have to be shipped in when they’re out of season, meaning you pay for the cost of importing them, sometimes from the other side of the world. By sticking to the seasons you not only keep the costs down, but you also ensure that the flavour is at its best.
Find out where your local farmer’s market is and pay a visit at the end of the day when sellers are trying to get rid of their excess stock. You can usually buy top quality fruit and veggies at a fraction of the cost, plus you’re helping a local grower and ensuring that your money goes directly to the people responsible for the fabulous local produce.
Buy in bulk
When you find a good price on non-perishable goods, stock up. Rice, pasta, grains, cereals and anything in a tin will save you money when bought in bulk. Also, look for bulk packs of meat on special, and then freeze them in individual portions ready to grab later on.
Choose a cheap cut
A cheaper cut of meat doesn’t mean a less tasty one. In fact, often the cheaper cuts, which need long slow cooking to make them tender, are the tastiest you can get. Slow cooking is a fantastic way to make budget meals from these cheaper options.
Eat your veggies
Meat is often the most expensive part of a shopping budget, so try to make one day per week a veggie only day. Experiment with different recipes, use a whole host of new flavours and discover the versatility of vegetarian cooking. This is a simple way to cut down on costs while not compromising on flavour.
Bulk it out
The easiest way to stretch a meal is to add filler ingredients. Additional vegetables, pasta, rice, other grains or even just bread on the side are all great ways to add bulk without compromising taste. Add brown rice and quinoa to soups and stews, and throw some potatoes into a curry to make these tasty meals stretch further.
Freezing food is one of the best ways to save money in the kitchen. Make double the amount of a meal and put half of it in your freezer. That way, when you need a quick meal, instead of opting for expensive takeaways you’ll have a freezer full of goodies ready to go.