9 Tips for cooking in Frugal Way

Christy | 4:41 PM |

The present day economy is nobody’s friend. If you’ve got money, it’s best to put it aside for rainier days that are sure to come. People are looking to save money in every aspect of life, and food is no less of a target area when it comes to sparing expense. Coming up with inexpensive meal plans is the only way to beat the rising costs of groceries. Here are a few tips for you to cook meals frugally.

  1. Plan Your Menus In Advance

Planning your weekly menus in advance will help you achieve cheaper meals. Most of us grab a basket, run to the grocers and pick up what we need, what we want and whatever else looks nice and fresh. The result? Without a proper plan, we end up not using the groceries in the right manner. Vegetables and fruits lose their freshness very fast. Buy two pounds of fresh carrots; shove them in the fridge with some idea of cooking them in a soup for which you don’t have the other ingredients. By the time you get to the carrots, they’re halfway gone. So every Sunday morning, create your family menu plan for the coming Monday to Saturday stretch.

  1. Shop For Meal Plans

When you make your grocery shopping list, make a list of the ingredients for each dish on the menu. Before leaving for the grocers, check how many of these ingredients you have already. Buy only what you need, especially perishable ingredients such as herbs.

  1. Buy Only How Much You Need

You plan on cooking a pasta dinner this week, and you need pasta, basil and a bottle of basic marinara sauce. The pasta pack will keep, and the sauce can be refrigerated for later, but what about the basil? You cannot afford to buy a large bunch of fresh Italian basil, use just a few leaves for your dish and hope to store the rest. It’ll spoil in the fridge. It’s a good idea to shop for fresh ingredients weekly at farmers’  markets; you can pick and choose your quantity.

  1. Avoid Buying Expensive Meat

Meat is probably the biggest expense in a frugal cook’s book. Eschew the more expensive cuts of meat and consider buy not-so-popular cuts such as the shoulder and the shank. These will need slow cooking, which is a good idea since you’ll be using less fuel. Consider buying family cuts even if you are not going to use that much in a week. Freeze the extra meat for later. When you buy chicken, opt for a large family pack of chicken breasts instead of one or two for a single dinner.

  1. Look For Meat Alternatives

As an alternative to meat, consider using other sources of proteins, such as beans. Beans are cheap, can be bought and stored in bulk, soaked overnight and cooked into a variety of dishes. Lentils are a great way to get the necessary protein into your body, and they’re cheap too. Look up some interesting ways to cook lentil – explore far-off cuisines such as Indian, Pakistani and Mediterranean cuisines that cook lentils in creative and interesting ways.

  1. Buy Frozen Foods

Frozen foods are much cheaper than the fresh stuff. Contrary to popular belief, frozen food is not devoid of nutrients. The nutrients are preserved during the freezing process. However, always take care to buy frozen foods well within their expiry date.

  1. Use Coupons

Keep a list of the items you need tacked to your fridge. Then scour your Sunday papers and coupon sites for food coupons. You can take advantage of coupons to get double discounts during sales and promotions. If you manage your couponing cleverly, you can actually manage to get a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries for free. That’s the amount of savings you’ll be able to accomplish.

  1. Coordinate Your Meals With Items On Sale

All major grocery chains and supermarkets are currently vying with each other to attract more shoppers. With everyone going the frugal way now, markets are losing out on business. Coupons, sales and promotions are a few ways that markets keep inventory off their shelves. Before you plan your weekly menu, check out the sales listed in your Sunday paper. Subscribe to email newsletters from the grocery chains you frequent and check out what’s on sale. Plan your weekly menu around those items, instead of just buying the items on sale for later. Your savings potential will double.

  1. Freeze Batches Of Food

There’s nothing wrong in cooking a batch of food in advance and freezing it for later. You can try freezing soups, casseroles and stews. Always cool the food to room temperature first, keep it in the fridge to cool it further and then place it in the freezer. Your food will last much longer.
Marina Chernyak is SAHM and co-owner of any authentic Limoges boxes store located at - LimogesFactory.com

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