Delicious food needn’t break the bank — make your meals go further by batch cooking, bigging up the freezer and putting leftovers to good use.
Whether you’re a savvy student or simply sticking to a budget, we’re here to help. Shop smart, cook clever and waste less with our 12 tips for cooking on a budget.
Plan your week
Get organised by planning your meals for the week – just make sure to check your fridge, freezer and cupboards before you go shopping so you know exactly what you need and are less likely to over-shop. If you write everything down in a list, you’re more likely to stick to it.
If you can, cook in bulk – it’s one of the simplest and most efficient ways to save money in the kitchen. Whether you’re cooking for one person, the whole family or even an entire community, preparing multiple meals in advance will help you cut down on food waste and save time in the long run.
Check out our batch-cooking hub for inspiration.
Make the most of your freezer
Most of us have freezers, but they’re not always used to their full potential. From storing leftover meals and ingredients to rescuing wilting herbs and fruit on the turn, they’re an absolute life-saver. Once you know how to make the most of your freezer, you’ll never look back.
Love your leftovers
Leftovers are the gift that keeps on giving, and anyone can transform excess food into delicious dishes with a little bit of know-how. Find out how to use up leftover chillies, stale bread or a whole array of odds and ends with our easy ideas for reducing food waste.
Look at best-before and use-by dates
Cook smart by understanding the difference between best-before dates and use-by dates. Here are our top tips for saving the food we most commonly throw away.
Cook with tinned food
Cooking with cans can seriously deliver on the flavour front, without breaking the bank. Ever wondered how to elevate tinned tuna or tomatoes? Make the most of tins with our favourite recipes and easy store-cupboard meals.
Big up legumes
Legumes (beans and pulses) are not only affordable, they’re also super-versatile and a source of protein and fibre. Lentils, black beans, kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas and even peanuts are all classed as legumes, and are available in jarred, tinned or dried form.
Find out more and discover our favourite ways to use them here.
Use your store cupboard to maximise flavour
Give your meals a boost by investing in a couple of flavour bombs. From dried herbs and spices to jarred pastes and preserves, get the most out of your cooking with store-cupboard ingredients you’ll use again and again.
Embrace wonky fruit & veg
More supermarkets are now selling wonky fruit and veg than ever before, so why not give it a go? Misshapen veg is often cheaper, but is just as tasty and nutritious as the produce we’re used to buying. Reclaim wonky veg in pickles, traybakes, burgers, cottage pies and warming soups.
Make easy swaps
Open your mind to the wonderful world of ingredient swaps; cooking flexibly allows you to use what you’ve already got, meaning you’ll save money and cut down on waste, too.
Get inspired with our collection of flexible recipes.
Surf the seasons
Cooking with seasonal fruit and veg is a great way to try new flavours, keep your diet varied and save a bit of money, as seasonal produce tends to be more affordable. We’ve got plenty of seasonal recipes for spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Grow your own
One of life’s simplest pleasures, growing your own fruit and veg is a great way to cut down on your food bill. If you’ve got a garden, patio or sunny windowsill to work with, there’s plenty of potential for home-grown food. Discover how to grow your own chillies and herbs, tomatoes and rhubarb, or how to make cute cress heads with kids.