Running Yalla Oats and developing product recipes, we have learned a thing or two about stretching a dollar while making amazing food. We have saved thousands of dollars just by following these strategies.
Now that the Holidays are rolling around, I think these principals will help you make great meals without breaking the bank.
- Buy Multi-Purpose Ingredients
- Don't just buy ingredients that are specific to one recipe, make sure that you can use them across multiple meals. For example at home we love chickpeas. You can blend them up with some tahini to create hummus, you can mix them with fresh veggies to create a salad, or you can stew them with some coconut milk and spices to create a delicious curry.
The key here is to think of multiple recipes that an ingredient can be used in.
- Buy in Bulk - Especially Shelf-Stable items
- When manufactures or restaurants buy food they buy in bulk to save on costs, and the same can be true when shopping for your family. For shelf-stable items that we use a lot of, we tend to buy in higher quantities. Think of things like pasta, olive oil, canned goods, etc...
It is a higher upfront cost, but it averages out to hundreds saved a year. Plus it means fewer trips to the store and less gas used each week.
- Shop Around
- Often times you can find better prices online than even the big box stores can offer. The reality is that the internet has to become a part of your food shopping experience.
We have found ingredients cheaper on amazon than what some of our food suppliers could offer us. Just spend the extra 5 minutes to browse around and you might be surprised by what you can find.
- Nice Meals are About Technique
- Fancy ingredients and expensive kitchenware can only get you so far, learning the techniques and philosophies behind cooking can go a long way in making your meals 10x better.
I like to think of baking as the perfect example of this, it is typically just flour, water, salt, and yeast but if you learn how bread works and practice you can create artisan bread for only a few dollars.
- Make Substitutions and Get Creative
- You don't always have to follow the recipe, they are just guidelines! it is okay to make substitutions because you don't want to buy some random ingredient for just this one meal.
Lemons work for limes, onions are great instead of shallots, and oil works for butter. Sure it won't be exactly the same, but who cares. You are not a restaurant, your guests won't even notice, and who knows, you might even create an even more amazing dish than the one you set out to make.
The holidays are about gathering with those you care about and should not cost you an arm and leg to do so. Let us know any hacks that you may have to save money this holiday season!