ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10 Secrets to Fast and Low Cost Meals

Updated on October 18, 2017
Maggie Bonham profile image

Maggie Bonham is an award-winning author and editor. She is also the author of more than 35 books as well as thousands of articles.

You're out of time and out of money, and yet somehow, you have to cook dinner. Before you reach for that phone and call for takeout, try these tips for saving time and money on meals.

1. Plan Your Meals

Plan your meals and your shopping. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you'll save money by purchasing only the ingredients you need. Choose recipes that are inexpensive to make and have ingredients that are in season or you have on hand.

Slow Food

How Often Do You Cook Your Own Meals?

See results

2. Make Your Own Stock

Use homemade stock instead of store bought broth or bouillon. This may sound difficult, but making your own stock is easy and cheap instead of buying expensive broth or bouillon. To save time, put your crockpot to use to make your own broth/stock. Put your stock making ingredients: bones, meat, carrots, celery, onions, and water into a crockpot and cook overnight on low. The next day, you'll have broth ready to go.

3. Make large batches of meals ahead of time and freeze for quick use.

Instead of calling for pizza when you're in a hurry, try reaching for a meal you've prepared ahead of time that's now in the freezer. Make a big pot of chili, soup or stew in the crockpot and freeze family-sized portions so that when things are a little harried, you can pop them in the microwave and have a nutritious and low-cost solution.

4. Use dried beans instead of canned beans.

Beans are cheap when bought dried, but expensive when bought in cans. Soak the beans overnight in water and then use your crockpot to cook them throughout the day. Or better yet, if you have a pressure cooker, you can quickly make beans in about a half hour. Make enough to freeze and when making chili or some other meal that uses beans, toss them into the recipe.

5. Use frozen vegetables instead of canned or even fresh.

As much as I love fresh veggies, they can be expensive and difficult to have on hand. Frozen veggies can be bought on sale and stay fresh in the freezer a long time. They're usually cheaper than canned or fresh and retain their nutrients.

6. Buy fresh fruit and vegetables in season and freeze them.

A corollary to tip 5, buying fresh fruits and vegetables in season and freezing them will save you a bundle. Local produce in season is usually on sale and can be readily frozen for out of season use.

7. Depend on Technology

Is your bread machine gathering dust? Do you still have that pressure cooker you got for Christmas in its box? Now is the time to dust off those machines which offer labor saving benefits and put them to good use. Use your crockpot, bread machine, microwave and other labor-saving devices to their full potential. Look for recipes that allow you to use these devices so you don't have to spend all your time cooking.

8. Use Shortcut Ingredients

Use shortcut ingredients such as pizza dough, canned pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese that's already grated. While more costly than making it from scratch, it's cheaper than buying out.

9. Use Those Leftovers

Reuse the dinner leftovers the next day in another meal. A roast can become sliced steak sandwiches the next day; leftover chicken from the day before can become chicken enchiladas. With a little imagination and preparation, you can get two or more meals out of the same ingredients.

10. Buy on Sale

Stock up during sales on the foods you use most. This seems like a no brainer, but often people shop for things as they need them, not when they come on sale. Buy stocking up when the item is on sale, you'll save more money than if you bought the same product each week.

© 2014 Maggie Bonham

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Julie K Henderson profile image

      Julie K Henderson 

      3 years ago

      I found these suggestions helpful. I especially like the idea of buying fresh fruit on sale and freezing it.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)