Family meal times should be exciting, a time to reflect on the day passed and to enjoy some honest, tasty food.

However, unless you are a budding Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson prepping meals for the family every night can require some serious thinking, especially when you’re trying to do it on a budget.

But wait… budget food shopping doesn’t have to be boring (or consist of economy fish fingers). What it does require is commitment, a little bit of effort and taking the time to largely cook from scratch, which isn’t as hard as it sounds – we promise!

If you’re after some top tips on how to cook on a budget, then look no further, we have 3 of the best right here for you.

1. Cook in bulk

Bulk cooking isn’t simply a cost saver, it’s also a time saver (win, win!). For example, making a tomato base with lots of chopped up vegetables, is both healthy and can also be used in a variety of ways.

By cooking quantity, you can freeze it in portions (just make sure you have lots of storage boxes, and freezer space) and you have the base for lasagne, pasta sauce and pizza topping ready to defrost in seconds!

2. Don’t waste

Did you know the average household throws away an estimated £250-£400 each year, accumulating to £15,000-£24,000 over a life time – that’s a lot of money to throw down the drain (or in the bin). We’re all guilty of not thinking and throwing away uneaten food, but let’s stop this bad habit and make the weekly shop stretch further.

We’re not saying you need to eat the same thing twice in a row, but let’s get inventive!

For example, with Christmas just around the corner, Jamie Oliver has a great recipe for turkey curry, which is a great way to deal with excess turkey. (That means no more turkey sandwiches – hurray.)

3. Be Adaptable

If you’re a slave to the old recipe book, then this one might be a challenge for you, but imagine you’re in the middle of cooking and you notice that you are missing an ingredient – panic stations? We think not.

Instead of dashing out to the shops and spending money, why not take a look in the cupboards to see if there is something you can use instead? For example, fresh chillies can be substituted for chilli powder and your meal will still taste delicious.

We’d love to see some of the meals you have cooked on a budget, so email them in to [email protected]

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