Meal prep tools you need to make dirt cheap meals.
Groceries take a huge bite out of the family budget and as a single mom we need to cut expenses every place we can. I put together a massive list of meals you can afford to make even if you are in poverty.
Like most jobs having the right tools makes the job easier. A friend of mine was reading my poverty meals article and suggested I write an article on what tools to use to make super cheap meals. I liked her idea and put this list together for you.
Meal Planning Resources
Dining on a Dime has 22 menus and 1200 recipes and money-saving tips. The recipes are made with inexpensive easy to find ingredients. No more buying something special for a recipe and having most of the container leftover.
You can choose a 14 day trial of the classic meal plans or gluten free.
Meal Planning Template and Grocery List
This is great if you like picking your own meals. You can do even better with saving money if you plan your meals using cheaper ingredients.
She has a traditional, slow cooker/instantpot, and no flour no sugar option. These recipes are delicious, made with simple ingredients, a little different from the same old stuff, but still, kid-friendly. Tastes like restaurant food at home.
A system that can save you $400 a month on groceries. One user said she paid for the system in one trip to the grocery store.
This is a comprehensive budgeting system. Use it and get out of debt, so you can spend money on what is important to you. When you are living the life you want with the money you have it is a dream come true.
Meal Prep & Storage Tools
Cooking quick, cooking ahead and making more than one meal at a time are all important strategies in making super cheap meals. When you cook at home it is way cheaper than going out to eat. On nights when time is short between work and one of the kid’s activities having a pre-made meal will ease the stress and save you money.
A crockpot is my go to kitchen prep tool for a busy after work meal. I start it in the morning and have a hot meal when I get home from work.
One of my favorite things to make is a large pork roast with potatoes or sweet potatoes and then shred and freeze the extra leftover pork roast for meals in the future. It is like having dinner half made, which is a huge help when you are balancing everything as a single or solo parent.
If you have a bit more time in the evening, but forgot to get something started an InstantPot will cook dinner fast. It is also a great tool to make a large batch of beans and then freeze in meal size servings instead of using canned beans. It is a quick and easy way to save money.
If you have never had a good chef’s knife you will be amazed at the difference the right tool makes in the speed of chopping vegetables.
Having a meal in the freezer for a busy after work night is the difference between having a homecooked meal and going through drive through. It also makes packing lunches so much easier, just grab a container out of the freezer and heat it up for lunch.
If you are going to heat up your meal in the container you froze it in a glass container is best. Heat can cause the BPA and Phthalates in plastics to leach into your food. After going to all of the work of making a healthy meal you don’t want to ruin it by adding the chemicals from plastic to your food.
Cookbooks for Super Cheap Meals
Dining on a Dime Cookbook shows you how to eat better and spend less money. You will find 1200 recipes and money saving tips, 22 menus, and even recipes for snacks. There is also a section on what to do with leftovers. Do you need a frugal gift? There is a section on making gifts from your kitchen
I’ve had this book for decades. I first discovered it when my ex-husband was in graduate school and I was supporting us on an entry level job. This book includes several vegetarian meals and even many of the meals with meat have less meat than is often is used in traditional meals in the United States.
I also love the stories of the people around the world that inspired these recipes. There are several delicious options for bread and soup meals and fun ideas for entertaining on a budget.
Besides saving money on food I put together even more ideas to help you make ends meet on a tight budget here.
Hi, I’m Tamara the creator of Empowered Single Moms, a single mom, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and the author of Thriving a Single Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Positive Life and Thriving a Single Mom Journal. I have a solo private psychotherapy practice where I treat anxiety, depression, and relationship issues.
As a member of the Empowered Single Moms community, I believe you can stop carrying the weight of the world alone and build a life you love. Join my mailing list and get 5 Keys to Single Mom Success.
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