If you are on a tight budget and find you are spending too much money on eating out or by picking up take-out at the fast food restaurant you really need to start doing your own cooking! Even a busy mom or dad can cook for the entire family (people used to do that years ago!). Just follow some of these tips and stop wasting money on junk food!
Breakfast: Breakfast is probably one of the easiest meals to whip up. You can always just plop a box of cereal and a gallon of milk on the table and let them eat! But you really need to make sure you are serving a healthy breakfast. And you can serve a healthy breakfast with a nice variety of foods and still keep it quick and cheap!
Try making some french toasts on the weekend and freeze them individually in baggies. Use whole grain breads and cook them with a bit of canola oil instead of butter. You can make an entire loaf of French toast in no time then you have plenty to serve throughout the week. You can pop these frozen french toast in the toaster just like the kind you buy that are already made. But you will save money by making your own. You can also make your own waffles and pancakes and freeze those too!
Buy cereal in the big bags, not in the box. The bags are usually cheaper. Buy cereal that is not covered in sugar. Look for unsweetened puffed wheat or rice crispies. And instead of letting your kids add heaping spoonfuls of sugar invest in a box of individual packets of sugar. One packet is all they need!
Yogurt is always a good choice for breakfast too. But save money by buying a big container of plain yogurt or vanilla yogurt and adding your own fruit. If fresh fruit is too expensive buy frozen fruit and berries or even canned fruit. Making your own flavored yogurt will save you a bundle!
Lunch: When you plan lunches for your family think of the three S’s… soup, salad, sandwich. You can’t go wrong with this combination! Buy family size cans of soup or save even more by buying broth and adding your own veggies and noodles to it to make your own soup.
For salads, skip the lettuce that is pre-cut and buy a couple heads of lettuce. Buy a variety like one iceberg and one romaine. Cut the lettuce yourself and save money! It’s easy to cut and it’s always more fresh than the bagged lettuce. And salads don’t always have to include lettuce. You can serve potato salad, pasta salad… there are so many salads out there!
As for sandwiches the variety is endless. And you can make sandwiches in advance and keep them in the refrigerator for several days. They are not only good for lunch but also good for an after school snack!
Dinner: You can feed an entire family very inexpensively and with one word… casserole! Casseroles are not only cheap to make but they are also quick and easy to put together! And they are healthy too! Look up some casserole recipes and make one for each night of the week (do your cooking on the weekend). Then pop them in the freezer and all you have to do when you get home from work is heat and serve!
Another great choice for quick and easy dinners is crockpot meals. You put it together in the morning and by dinner time you have a hot and healthy meal! There are plenty of crockpot recipes that I’m sure your family will love!
Plan ahead! Look through your grocery store flyers to see what is on special that week. Plan your meals accordingly and you will save a lot of money by cooking at home. Get the kids involved too! Cooking together and eating together is a great way to spend some quality time together. Bon appetite!