Whether you just graduated, moved out, or had a baby, circumstances beyond your control may have made money tight. You’re certainly not alone, but now it’s time to reign it in on the takeout and toughen your food allowance. Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly meals and tricks that’ll allow you to continue eating healthy without sacrificing flavor and quality. Yes, you can still have pizza, but you might have to budget for it later in the week. Settle in and read through the following eight life-changing tips while you clip those coupons.
1. Utilize rotisserie chicken. Buying packages of chicken breasts or thighs can add up quick. It’s always cheaper to purchase a whole chicken and break it down yourself, but rotisserie chicken is a great way to get several meals out of your protein. Use the white meat breasts in a cheesy veggie-loaded casserole, and save the rest for soup later in the week. (Tip + Recipe via Project Meal Plan)
2. Embrace Meatless Monday. Meat, in general, is a huge expense on your grocery bill. Adopting the meat-free way of life a couple of times a week will save you big bucks in the long run and introduce you to a whole new world of recipes. Try using high-protein grains like quinoa that you can buy from the bulk bin. (Tip + Recipe via Chelsea’s Messy Apron)
3. Use eggs as protein. Eggs are among some of the cheapest and nutritious grocery items you can buy. Whether you make breakfast for dinner or whip up a spicy shakshuka to serve over rice, you get a lot of bang for your buck with the incredible egg. (Tip + Recipe via Umami Girl)
4. Take time to make freezer meals. Set aside one day on the weekend to marathon prep meals to keep in the freezer. Doing this allows you to stock up on items when they’re on sale to enjoy later on. Plus, having mouth-watering meals at your disposal keeps you from ordering unnecessary takeout in a pinch. (Tip + Recipe via Sweet Peas and Saffron)
5. Buy frozen fruits and veggies except when in season. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. Knowing when and where to buy your fruits and veggies is key in keeping your food budget on track. In-season produce can be really cheap if purchased from the farmers’ market, but out of season, frozen is always the way to go. (Tip + Recipe via Whole and Heavenly Oven)
6. Make your own snacks. Sure, that tub of hummus and bag of popcorn looks convenient, but if you take the (very little) time to make your own, you can customize it yourself and save a *ton* of cash. You’ll be amazed at how much more affordable it is to DIY your own granola. (Tip + Recipe via Killing Thyme)
7. Use dried beans instead of canned. Dried beans are dirt cheap and high in protein, and thanks to the pressure cooker, incredibly easy to make as well. Use them alongside your favorite Mexican meal or serve as a nutritious meatless alternative. (Tip + Recipe via 365 Days of Slow Cooking)
8. Make breakfast the night before. Say sayonara to your daily Starbucks stop on the way to work. Making your breakfast the night before guarantees that you’re not tempted by the drive-thru and forces you to make coffee at home. Oats are a really affordable morning option that can easily be meal prepped at the beginning of the week. (Tip + Recipe via Jar of Lemons)
Follow us on Pinterest for more money-saving hacks!