First things first: decide what you can and cannot afford. Take a trip to your local grocery store and make note of affordable food products that will fit within your budget. Look for fresh vegetables that are both cheap and versatile. Veggies like carrots, broccoli, and green beans can be cooked as a side dish, or added to a main meal as a way of stretching it. And don’t judge frozen veg too quickly: not only are they affordable, but because you store them in the freezer, they’re less likely to go to waste!

Keep useful recipes

After deciding what you can afford, search for recipes that feature those ingredients. Create meal plans around the ingredients that provide the most value. Also be open-minded to substitutions. Often times, a unique or expensive ingredient can be substituted for a more versatile, cheaper one.

Make bulk meals

When cooking dinner, increase the portion amount so that there’s enough for tomorrow’s lunch. You will save a lot of money if you don’t have to buy lunch every day!

Use your freezer

The freezer is your friend, and so is the freezer section aisle. It’s a great way of cutting down on food waste. You can freeze fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, AND leftovers.

Go DIY

Often times a recipe calls for a special spice blend that you may not have in your pantry. But many of these spice blends can actually be made from basic spices you already have in your cupboard. A simple internet search will help you create most of these blends yourself!

Buy whole chicken

Whole chicken is not only affordable, it’s so versatile too! Roast a chicken and use the meat in casseroles, chicken sandwiches, and salad. Don’t toss the bones in the waste bin, save it in the freezer and use it to make chicken stock!

Love your legumes

Meat is the most expensive part of a meal, so stretch your meat-based meals with legumes like lentils and beans. They are both cheap and nutritious! Keep an eye out for dried beans. They might take a little more time to prepare, but you will save a lot of money choosing them above the canned type. And you can easily cook them in a slow cooker (crockpot).

Use your appliances

Tough cuts of meat are quite affordable, but they are often the most flavorful! If you use an instant pot or slow cooker, you can easily cook these tougher cuts of meat.