Have you ever read an article on how to save money on groceries only to find out that most of the tips are based around making all of your meals from scratch?
Yes, I totally agree that the best way to have a low grocery budget is to make all of your bread, yogurt, and more from scratch, while eating more bean-based meals. However, this advice is hard to follow if you don’t particularly like spending time in the kitchen.
I don’t hate cooking, but it’s something I would prefer to not to spend a lot of time doing, while still providing healthy meals for my family.
Here are a two tips to save money on groceries, even if you hate cooking.
Look for Fast Alternatives
I’ve discovered that the more I limit my grocery bill, the more I end up spending on fast food. I would feel guilty for paying more for a bag of chopped onions, frozen bell pepper strips, or healthy meats prepared in a sauce.
Then I realized that even though I might pay $15 for a 2-lb steak in a mushroom sauce (something that’s easy for me to make myself), it still ends up being cheaper than eating out at a restaurant. Just getting two combo meals for my husband and I costs $12-15, and there are no leftovers. Whereas the steak package plus a side of frozen vegetables cost less than $18 but ends up being stretched to one dinner for us and two lunches for him.
I’m not saying to go hog wild at the grocery store, but if you struggle with eating fast food a lot, then look for easier meal ideas, even if they cost more. I would rather increase my grocery budget by $100 then to waste $200 on fast food each month just because I keep getting in a dinner rut.
Experiment with Systems
My go-to system is doing an entire month’s work of prep and then putting all the ingredients into the freezer. When you’re ready to make a meal, just pull everything out and cook it.
This may seem like a big task to take on if you hate cooking, but I’ve found that prepping or cooking all of my food in one day leaves me time to focus on other things. Plus, when I do freezer cooking, my kitchen stays much cleaner for the rest of the month.
Experiment with prepping all your food for the upcoming month. Or prepare everything on Sunday night before the week starts so you’re not running behind the rest of the week. Try buying food that can be used in multiple recipes, or repurposing last nights leftovers into a new and delicious meal.
Pay for Meal Planning
If you really hate cooking because you can’t ever think of any healthy meal options, then try paying for a simple menu planning service that gives you a printable shopping list and easy to follow cooking instructions.
Some great sites to check out are:
I’ve personally used 5dinners1hour.com and was pretty happy with that program. I ended up paying less than $50 for the groceries and had all of my meals made in just over an hour. I liked about 75 percent of the recipes we ate, too. I think all of these sites will help you save money and spend less time cooking, but you just have to stick to it.
I will probably never be one of those ladies making a homemade chocolate cake on the weekend or trying adventurous recipes. But I’ve learned not to feel guilty that I hate baking, hate cleaning the kitchen constantly, and hate reading recipes.
However, I don’t let my disdain of cooking keep me from making three meals a day for my family, even if it means I spend more on frozen brown rice and pre-washed and chopped vegetables.
Do you hate cooking? How do save money without cooking everything from scratch?