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Best Cookbooks for Eating on a Budget

Sarah Pyle



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Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to limit yourself to rice and beans. These are some 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!

pantry inventory printable document

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown

Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown 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.

100 Days of Real Food: On a Budget by Lisa Leake

New York Times Bestselling author and food blogger Lisa Leake has come out with a budget-friendly version blog in the form of cookbook 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget.

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!

Budget Bytes by Beth Moncel

One of my absolute favorites, Budget Bytes 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.

Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn

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. Check out Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn.

Frugal Vegan by Katie Koteen and Kate Kasbee

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.

Good Cheap Eats by Jessica Fisher

If you’re looking for a book filled with quick, cheap meals, Good Cheap Eats by Jessica Fisher 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!

The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook by Amy Sheppard

The Savvy Shopper’s Cookbook by Amy Sheppard 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. 

Mediterranean Diet on a Budget by Emily Cooper

While I don’t usually like buying cookbooks for a specific cuisine, Mediterranean Diet on a Budget by Emily Cooper, RD provides such helpful tips for smart shopping hacks and even includes a 28-day meal plan to help making sticking to your budget plan that much easier.

So, which cookbook are you excited to try? Let me know in the comments below and tell me your favorite cookbooks for budget cooking!

More Budget-Friendly Recipes

For even more budget meals, make sure to check out our Budget Meal Recipes or a few of my favorites are below:

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By on March 28th, 2024

About Sarah Pyle

Hi, I'm Sarah. The voice behind Feast for a Fraction. I've been a penny-pincher all my life, but still have a taste for nice things. I'm here to show you that you can eat (and live) well on a budget. From recipes and DIY tips to ways to make extra money, we'll be in control of our budgets together!

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