Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to limit yourself to rice and beans. These are so of my favorite cookbooks for making delicious meals without breaking the bank.
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People often believe that cooking from a cookbook is going to be more expensive than a normal meal and in a lot of cases, this is true. It’s very easy to end up spending more money than you normally would when you’re buying specialty ingredients just for one recipe. Thankfully, there are a lot of budget-friendly cookbooks out there to pick from. These are great for students, newly married couples just learning to cook, and seasoned cooks who are looking to cut down on their grocery budget. Here are a few of my favorite cookbooks for eating on a budget.
What Makes a Budget Cookbook Great?
Anyone can put together frugal meal ideas, but what really makes these cookbooks great is that each of them starts by teaching you how to use frugal ingredients well. And to stay on a budget, you have to know what you have in your freezer and pantry. That way, you can plan meals around what you have and then pick up everything else in your weekly grocery run.
Grab my free Freezer and Pantry Inventory printables here!
New York Times Bestselling author and food blogger Lisa Leake has come out with a budget-friendly version of her book and blog 100 Days of Real Food. It has a cost breakdown for every recipe which can be used as a rough estimate for how much your meal will cost. Moreover, it also has an entire chapter dedicated to slow cookers!
One of my absolute favorites, this is a book that I use frequently for my own family. It’s written by Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes, a former broke college student turned food blogger and author with a degree in nutritional science and dietetics. She includes the price breakdown for each total recipe and serving, and includes some great instructions on how to stock your panty on a budget.
A mother of ten shares how she feeds her family on $800 a month. Along with expert tips on how to save money while grocery shopping. Even if you aren’t feeding a family of 12, this book will save you money.
Even eating vegan on a budget is possible! Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee are here to show you how in Frugal Vegan. The book teaches you how to avoid expensive perishable foods while still enjoying nutritious, filling food.
This is my absolute favorite cookbook to use on a budget! This cookbook was written with those on Food Stamps/SNAP in mind with budgets of $4 a day, all without relying on heavily processed foods. It is a New York Times Bestseller and IACP Award winner. It’s full of healthy cheap recipes with a ton of great options for variety. Most importantly, for every book sold the publisher also donates a copy to a family in need. If you’re struggling yourself, Leanne has made a PDF version of the book available for free here.
If you’re looking for a book filled with quick, cheap meals, Good Cheap Eats is the book for you. You’ll find tons of recipes you’ll love that don’t have any processed foods. In addition, she’s also written a number of cookbooks and also maintains two blogs!
This book takes you through the process of shopping for groceries, giving you tips along the way. In it, you’ll find recipes like Moroccan Chickpea Curry, Steak and Potato Salad, and 15 minute Apple Crumbles.