Free Money Saving Recipes
One area where we have major control over our money is in the area of food. We decide where we food shop. We decide what to cook. And we decide how often we will eat out. Along with many decisions we make each day, comes the opportunity to save money on food expenses. This article will focus on only one of the many ways to save money on food: how to find free money saving recipes. I am often asked for free frugal recipes, and even have a money saving recipes forum dedicated to the sharing of recipes on this site, but finding frugal recipes isn’t as straightforward as one might think.
When choosing between several recipes, the cost of the individual ingredients is the single most important factor to consider. If the recipe calls for lobster or swordfish, we all pretty much recognize that those ingredients will be expensive to purchase. What we want to look for in a recipe, is one that contains ingredients that are inexpensive. I buy a lot of chicken when it’s on a buy-one-get-one-free sale. I also have on hand a lot of cheap chicken recipes. If a recipes calls for something that I don’t usually purchase, like coconut milk, I will either substitute something else or pass on that recipe. Make sure each recipe you try passes your ingredients test.
Another thing to look for when evaluating a potential money saving recipe is how available are the ingredients in your area of the country. For example, I live in Florida. Each spring, strawberries are abundant and cheap. We even go to a strawberry farm to pick our own strawberries because it‘s cheaper. We all enjoy strawberry milkshakes, strawberry cake, and strawberries on our cereal. What we don’t use, I freeze for later use. Find out what is locally grown is your part of town, and find recipes that build on that ingredient.
How good you are at buying food when it’s at the lowest price, is another determining factor to how frugal any recipe will be. If I have a recipe for Chicken Divan and buy all the ingredients at full price, my meal will cost much more than someone else who purchased the ingredients on sale. Same exact recipe, different cost to prepare. This is one reason why it’s so hard to say that any one recipe is a frugal recipe. It really depends on how savvy a food shopper you are. Focus on proper coupon usage, and maximizing your usage of the local grocery store sales flyer so that you can stretch your food dollars.
Frugal recipe source
I have a favorite free recipe website that I want to share with you. It’s allrecipes.com. This site will help you locate frugal recipes, especially if you apply both the ingredient test, and great shopping skills. There are two things I really like about this site, the ingredient search feature, and the reader comments.
The ingredient search feature allows you to search for any recipes by ingredient. When my pantry is low, and I only have chicken, cheese and rice available for dinner, I can go to this search, key in my 3 ingredients, and this site shows me a listing of all the recipes that I can make with what I have on hand.
The reader comments are so helpful in avoiding a new recipe dining disaster. I read through the comments other cooks have made, before I decide whether or not to try out any new recipe. If it seems that a majority of the readers made the same comment, I try the recipe incorporating the readers suggestions. This method has never failed me. Look for recipes with a high rating, and many positive reader comments.
Favorite Recipe Binder
Once you have found a money saving recipe, made it successfully and everyone at your house loved it, it’s important that you keep that recipe for future dinners. I use a plain old 3 ring binder to keep my favorite family recipes. I filled it with plastic page protectors, and then I just printed out my recipes and added them into the plastic pages. Of course, there are fancier options like the ones shown below. I add any comments like, "make more next time” or “baked this dish along side mushroom rice” right in the margin. It’s important to stay organized in the kitchen, and having a dedicated place to store your money saving recipes saves you both time and money.
How to be Frugal?
Learning how to be frugal takes practice. Allow yourself time to absorb and apply the frugality lessons on the site. If you need more help with money saving recipes, check out these other food related articles. They can help you solve the "how to save" money challenge, that many of us are facing right now.