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Cheap Dinner Ideas: 3 Tips to Simplify and Maximize Your Savings

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You’re already eating at home to cut back on your food budget, but you’re not saving as much as you’d like.

So what the heck?

Maybe you’ve scrimped and worked hard only to end up back at square one.

Square one=frustration.

Feeling frustrated makes you want to give up.

But don’t get too discouraged yet.

Following  the wrong recipes may be the CULPRIT.

Here are three tips that can keep cash in your pocket when it comes to saving money on food.

Don’t miss out on the savings you deserve in this post.

How to Turn Some Pots and Pans into Cash Keeping Machines

Three things that really helped me when I started cooking:

Picture it, it was Sicily 1922. It was the worst of times. No, I’m not that old. Not by a long shot. I just wanted to use the line of my favorite Golden Girls character, Enthusiasts. Okay, back to 2014.

1. Use whatever low-cost recipes you find fascinating.

What better way to get motivated to cook then to make something you are happy to eat. Right? It’s even more exciting when you know that the savings has already been built into the recipe. Get ideas from 5 Dollar Dinners, The Frugal Girls, Ten Dollar Dinners, Money Saving Meals and many others.

When you are making something for the first time you want to be exact. Follow each recipe to the letter. So avoid shortcuts or skipping steps. Once you have made the dish a few times and get the hang of cooking it, that’s when you can mix things up a bit customize the recipe to your tastes. Woohoo!

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2. Now ditch ingredients.

If you love to try new recipes, that’s great. I recently went out of my way to make a fantastic carne asada dish. I had to purchase many ingredients.  Many of which I couldn’t easily blend into other every day meals. So finding ways to finish off the remaining ingredients was challenging. It cost me more than I would usually spend. Bummer. But it was still cheaper than a restaurant. Super. I know if I have company or a special reason to make something great, I will make the recipe again and purchase all of the ingredients for this recipe because you can’t be super cheap all of the time. That just sucks the joy out of life.

For regular weeknights, I’ll make a similar dish that is just as tasty using the least amount of ingredients that were from the recipe I just tried. That’s where you shave dollars off of the cost without compromising the flavor. I basically seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Then added tomato sauce and onion powder ( a really onion would have been ideal but I used what I had in my house). Then I bought a good pre-made guacamole. It costs about the same as fresh guacamole. I didn’t have to wait for avocados to get ripe or potentially waste cilantro. So I took the time saver route here without spending more. Not too shabby.

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It’s still 100% flavorful for less.

 

3. Keep all of your recipe finds organized.

Put all of those inexpensive recipes on a Pinterest board. Here’s mine. The key is to add the dollar amount of the recipe to the description so you can quickly reference how much you will spend. Unless of course, the recipe is entitles “5 Dollar Dinners” or something like that.

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