Feeding yourself when you’ve got a low or otherwise limited income can get very complicated. You need to eat, there’s no getting around that, but your bank account just isn’t meshing with the cost of the ingredients you want to buy! And that can lead to a lack of nutritional, and most of all tasty, meals in the long term.
But you can still make healthy and yummy breakfasts and dinners when you’ve got a permanently low bank balance. You’ll need to think a little more creatively, but there’s still a lot you can do on a low budget. To get yourself started, check out the tips down below.
Buy on Sale, Cook and Freeze for Later
Don’t let a good sale pass you by when it comes to food. If you’ve got a way to transport it home safely, buy as much as you can of any item you love to eat that’s on sale. Fruits and vegetables, meats and poultry, and even dairy products like cheese.
This way you can stock up your freezer with ingredients and/or meals you love without having to worry about them going bad. Once something is cooked and cooled, it can be frozen for at least 6 months without concern!
Simplify Your Ingredient List
The more you take ingredients out, the less you have to buy. Now that might sound like you’ll be left with nothing but a plate of potatoes to eat at dinnertime, but it really does work. Make sure you’ve got at least three filling items on the plate to dig into, but do away with any side dishes or the fancy ingredients with price tags you’ve always been wary of.
You’d be surprised just how much this method works out. Indeed, you can make this tasty stuffed mushrooms recipes with just four main ingredients, and the rest is herbs and spices! Stuff you already have in the cupboard and can use in any dish can help keep that shopping bill down every week.
Avoid Fresh Ingredients as Much as Possible
Fresh ingredients have a very limited period of use. As such, they’re good to avoid wherever you can. If you can’t use them within a couple days of buying them, simply don’t buy them. Let them be for other shoppers and go and find a frozen alternative you can safely store for later. This way you won’t be wasting money on good intentions and your desire to eat healthily! Frozen variants can even be a bit cheaper and make your shopping budget go even further.
Keep Your Spice Cupboard Stocked
A good spice cupboard will see you through every single time! Make sure you stock up the shelf or rack with plenty of varying spices and colors that’ll give new flavors and depth to your dishes whenever you cook something.
From smoked paprika to chilli powder to nutmeg and ginger, always have something on hand that can be combined well with ingredients like chicken or rice or in a pasta sauce to make an otherwise boring and bland meal one of the best things you’ve ever cooked. And seeing as spice jars tend to last a while, you won’t have to go back for more for a good few months yet!
Have One Impulse Purchase a Week
We’re not going to tell you to just stick to your shopping list here – we all know we should! And honestly, it would be unreasonable to expect someone to never have the chance to buy something they’d enjoy simply because it wasn’t written down. However, these impulse purchases do need to be contained.
If you like to snack on chips and cookies in between meals, choose one or the other and only have a bag or a couple per day. If you can make one snack item last the week, you’ll be standing in a very good stead! Or you can buy the ingredients to bake and make snack items of your own, which often works out cheaper as well. You just need a bit of time and energy on your side otherwise!
Mealtimes can still be fun and tasty when you’ve got a low budget to work with. While it’s a hard reality to face, sometimes tips like these are needed. So, if you can streamline a meal here and there, make sure you’ve got plenty of spices on hand, and bulk buy wherever possible, you’ll be able to easily afford the treats you want too.