If you’re trying to save money, cutting down on groceries seems like an obvious place to start, right? The truth is, cooking on a budget doesn’t have to mean boring, unhealthy food. If you go in to it with the right mentality, cooking well for less can be super easy, and you can still make all of your favourite meals. Provided you put in a little effort, there are many ways you can save on your weekly grocery shop, and instead spend money on more vital things, like a new ASOS order. Here are our tips on how to spend less when you cook.
Grocery Shop With A Plan
When heading to the grocery store, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. No matter how tempting the chip and dip aisle is, staying strong and sticking to a list is a great way to save money. Briefly outline what meals you hope to cook for the week, and what snacks and extras you will need, and your shopping experience will be much more efficient. Also consider swapping out your usual ingredients for cheaper alternatives: swapping chicken breast for chicken thigh, or beef mince for turkey mince, can help you save those all-important quarters.
Buy In Bulk
We pay a lot for the packaging that our favourite products come in, so buying in bulk is a huge money saver. At the start of the academic year, try heading out with some strong shopping bags, and a list of all the staple dry food and tins that you need, and stock up your cupboards. You can also do this more frequently with things like meat: if you buy a whole rotisserie chicken for example, you can use the meat to make casseroles, salads and sandwiches, and then use the leftovers to make a delicious chicken stock.
Consider Meal Prep
If you have a stressful week ahead, help out your future self by meal prepping. Take advantage of having a few hours spare on a Sunday, and cook a huge batch of your favourite meal. Then, simply separate your leftovers into Tupperware and you’ll have a weeks worth of delicious homemade meals. Having prepared food in your fridge will hopefully deter you from ordering food online, and will also prevent your fresh ingredients from going off or going unused. Easy recipes to try include fajitas, burrito bowls, salmon and vegetables, or for more inspiration check out these recipes here.
Freeze Freeze Freeze
Do you ever find wilted vegetables in the bottom drawer of your fridge that you simply never got round to using? As fruit and vegetables are notorious for their short shelf lives and fast expiry dates, try putting them in the freezer after purchase. They will last longer and still contain the same nutrients and taste. Bread tastes perfectly good going straight from freezer to toaster, and things like meat, soup and even wine can also be frozen.
Grow Your Own Produce
Buying fresh herbs, like basil, parsley and thyme, can provide you with an unlimited supply of free produce. All they require is a little sunlight and water, and you can use these to spruce up any meal. If you don’t have the luxury of your own garden, or live in a smaller apartment, you can easily line them up in flowerpots along your windowsill and watch them grow. If you’re really trying to save, these plants can also double up as cute houseplants that will brighten up your living space.
It’s easy to see cooking as an unnecessary expense, especially when there’s every cuisine imaginable at the tip of your fingertips. But cooking can be fun, healthy, and cheap! Here at Stargate West we have a variety of luxury apartments with great kitchens that cater to all your cooking needs and so much more. You can check out our floor plans here.