Economy gastronomy

Lets get budget savvy with chef Caro's top tips.

by: Caro de Waal | 29 Jul 2010

Why is it that when the end of the month comes, I always have a little sweat and a jaw-drop at how much I shouldn’t have spent?

Is it just me, or is it seriously hard to stick to a budget. In fact, I think the word is impossible… and I’ve even given up wine. Fortunately that will end as soon as I have pried the next sprout off my breast – I dream of it daily.

I don’t splurge on expensive mags and loads of clothes and things, but I am a bit of a lush when it comes to gorgeous food items and sometimes I don’t even look at the price much to the husband's continued alarm.

So I've put together some foodie tips to lower the ever-diminishing bank account and some yummy budget meals to boot.

1. Do a monthly shop - stock up on all the basics, it saves you from buying something new every day where you’ll definitely spend more each time.

2. Make freezer meals – it nips the take-out temptation in the never-as-good-as-it-sounds bud.

3. Shop at Fruit ‘n Veg City – it is SO much cheaper and there is less plastic wrapping and un-seasonal food so you’re being green too.

4. Start a dinner club – it saves on eye-popping going-out bills. Everyone brings a bottle (or two) and you don’t have to lay on a gourmet extravaganza, there are plenty of impressive party dishes that won’t break the bank. Try this bacon, mushroom and spinach pasta, throw in this delish butternut soup to start and this super easy lemon tart for dessert and you've got a gorgeous 3 course meal that won't burn a hole in your pocket.

5. Eat less meat – it’s better for you and there are so many amazing veggie dishes to make it boggles the mind. Try this broccoli soup with a cheese crouton and this spicy ratatouille on for starters.

6. Pack a lunch for work – it saves buckets and your waistline.

7. Use your left-overs – you can make delicious stir-fries, baked potato toppings and soups with all those extra little bits.

8. Check the papers for weekend specials – stock up on these items, it will save in the long run.

And just for giggles…

1. A large pot of homemade soup is an inexpensive way to feed a family. Make it last longer by eating it with chopsticks.

2. Rather than carry shopping bags around the supermarket or paying for expensive carrier bags, why not just eat your groceries at the checkout? Not only will this save money on carrier bags but it will also reduce your electricity bill too.

We’re on it big time here at Food24 as you might have noticed with our budget dinner series blitz. Check these out…

Spicy ratatouille - Vegetarian: R35 for 2

Butternut and bacon pasta: R35 for 2

Mediterranean chicken with olives: R35 for 2

Bangers and mash with a sweet-chilli glaze: R50 for 2And share the love people, we’d love to know your budget tips and meals and what works for you in these thrifty times, we'll send a R250 kalahari voucher to the best one.

PS: Hang out with the rich and famous and save a dime with this cool Café Caprice winter special

- Caro de Waal

Read more on: specials  |  2010  |  budget dinner series

NEXT ON FOOD24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.