what is budget bytes?

There are two things that I will readily admit to: I am broke and I love to eat.

I’m not “cheap” because I do appreciate quality; I just like to be able to have my cake, eat it, AND pay my bills on time.

Balancing your budget and meeting all of your wants and needs is tough. If you haven’t already calculated how much you spend on food every month (groceries, eating out and impulse snacks and drinks) you are probably in for an eye-opener. Next to rent or your mortgage, food is probably one of your largest bills. Fortunately, it is also the MOST malleable category in your budget!

We all know that eating out can be expensive, especially if you like good, quality food. Even fast food these days is not exactly cheap (a full fast food meal can cost between $6-$10 dollars… I can eat for almost two days for the amount of money). Cooking for yourself can also be very costly if you don’t know what you are doing. Newbie cookers beware! That’s why you need me.

The recipes in this blog are SIMPLE, QUICK and SATISFYING. This blog will probably be most useful for those who do not normally cook or have been too afraid to try. I serve up the classics and show how easy, satisfying and inexpensive they can be. If you are a chef or have been cooking for years then, yes, this blog may seem elementary. BUT there is a whole generation, no, a COUPLE of generations that have grown up without simple home cooked meals. Lets bring back the lost art of cooking!

In short, I don’t believe that eating for pennies a day has to mean eating Ramen Noodles 100 different ways. In response to a recent financial crisis of my own, I have begun to run cost analysis on all of my favorite recipes. The results have surprised even me. In this blog I will post recipes along with their cost analysis, prep time, pictures and alternate preparations. As a reader I invite you to post comments on the recipes and discuss with others ideas for recipe alterations or anything else.

So, lets do this. Lets all stop wasting our money on mediocre food that someone else just put in the microwave then handed over to us. Make something delicious. Make something that fills you up. Make something that you are proud of. Make something that still leaves you enough cash to buy something else that you REALLY need or want.


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  1. Flynn says:

    Hello Beth!

    I’m a volunteer “chef” instructor with an organization that serves low-income folks. (I’m not a chef, but a home cook with enough skills to share). The class is all about nutrition on a budget, including shopping skills. I asked my coordinator if I could introduce your site to the class and after she reviewed it, gave an emphatic “yes!” The volunteer nutrition instructor then said how much she loves your site and we both agreed your recipes are fail-safe! I’m in school for nutrition myself, specifically to teach people with limited budgets how to eat healthy. If it’s true that everything posted online lasts forever, I hope this site will too! Thank you!

  2. Donna says:

    I love your website! I have been cooking for 45+ years
    and really enjoy your fresh, quick and economic take on cooking. I have sent a link to so many family members and friends and have received so many thanks yous!
    Keep up the good work – and the photos are very good too!

  3. Angella says:

    I’ve used at least 6 or so of your recipes over the last couple months and they are always on point! I love this site and have been recommending it to friends like crazy!

  4. LaTrice says:

    I discovered your blog through the Google search engine, and I was looking for recipes that can be cooked on a budget. Although my sister and I are trying to find ways to prepare our meals, we would discuss on what we’re going to eat. Leftovers are the best-since we’re saving money on food, and it tastes even better!! So far, I’ve cooked seven recipes from this blog, and I’m looking forward to cooking more meals. :-)

  5. Kamille says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Beth! You have definitely helped to change my life from being a completely non-cook to at least being able to feed myself outside of fast foods. My arteries and health also thank you. Oh, and my boyfriend too. I tried countless websites and cooking books. Most recipes took too much time, not to mention money for each esoteric ingredient that got used only once. By the time I figured out what each ingredient was and walked around the supermarket for 2 hours looking for them, I was over it. Not sure if you have a book on the horizon, but if you did, it would surely be on my Christmas list for both my younger brother and myself! :)

  6. Elena says:

    I agree with a previous poster that this website is for new and experienced cooks alike! I have loved every recipe so far. I have been recommended the website to my clients. I’ve been working on my food budget and this website has been a huge help :-)

  7. HCWIII says:

    Was introduced to your website by a co-worker. BEST site that I have come across yet. The biggest difference this has made for me is that I now often double the ingredient size of your recipies, and refrigerate 1 or 2 portions for lunch during the work week. This is saving me a PILE of money from not having to buy lunch at work which can cost $10-$15 per day. What I love the most is that every step has a picture. So far I’ve done about 6 or 7 of your recipies and each time it has come out flawlessly perfect. The Glazed Pork Chops were so good I made a second batch the same day and inhaled those too :) AWESOME web site!

  8. Carolyn says:

    Just found your website through a friend and can’t wait to try a bunch of your recipes!! Love the photos as well! Do you produce all the photography? All the pictures are well lit and gorgeous!


    • Yes, I do all the photography. Thanks! :) It’s been a slow learning process and I still have a long way to go!

  9. Melissa says:

    This is by far the best cooking website out there. We are vegetarian and I am often frustetated with the vegetarian websites and magazines. The ingredients are expensive and everything takes a long time. I am by no means a novice in the kitchen but I have two kids and a husband that I cook for everyday and I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to cooking but I hate the idea of take out. This website has saved so many days when I normally would have called for pizza. Thank you! Amazing concept cheap easy healthy!

  10. Jennie says:

    You’ve written that this website will probably be most useful for those who don’t normally cook or are afraid to try. I beg to differ — I have excellent skills in the kitchen and have been cooking since I was a young teenager. I still find this blog to be a great source of recipes that can be the tipping point between giving in to someone’s demands for Subway because I’m tired and just can’t think what to make, and making dinner at home that I’m excited about cooking. Don’t underestimate the amount of value for working parents who value quality (as you do), but need an easy way to add new stuff to the repertoire that can be made on a weeknight. Although from that perspective I admit that one of the things I value *is* that my now-teenager can approach these recipes and get them started if necessary before I get home. :-)

  11. Stephanie says:

    Yes! Everything you said here is MONEY. I love to cook and I love to eat, and yes it hurts my budget when I go crazy. Thank you for writing about such a novel and winning concept.

    As a dietitian, I meet with too many people who have long lost the art of cooking. If we can recapture the beauty and simplicity of it (without breaking the bank), then we can all be a little healthier, happier, and more resourceful!

  12. I happened across your Budget Bytes cookbook at the library the other day. I am always trying new cookbooks, hoping to find a good one, which I will then purchase if it looks useful to me. I knew your book was the one for me from the very start where you list items for the pantry — I have every single item on that list, and not much more!! I knew every recipe would be using those basics, and I would not be rushing out to buy some obscure ingredient or spice just to “try out” a recipe. I LOVE your book and immediately put together two of your recipes, SO incredibly simple when I only had to walk to my pantry and get started!! You have no idea how happy I am to find a book (and website) full of recipes that use good, basic, wholesome food. I like my food simple. I want to taste the food itself, not the sauce it is buried under. Thank you for sharing your ideas and recipes and for keeping it real. LOVE it. :-) :-) :-)

  13. Denise says:

    As a Registered Dietitian, I am always looking for good resources to share with my clients. Your website is great — especially will be useful for people who say “I don’t know how to cook” or “I don’t have time” or “Eating healthy food is too expensive”. You have covered it all! Great work….

  14. Iyabo says:

    I am very excited about your site. This seems to be the answer to my prayers! I am very cost conscious and need to cut my food budget in half. I had no idea how to do this and still eat health as healthier options seem to be the more costly options. I am not creative in the kitchen, so this site has me soooo excited. Thanks Beth!

  15. I’ve never liked to cook. Thought it was a waste of valuable time in the kitchen on my feet. I was always impatient and tend to burn everything…meal wasn’t done until I smelled it charing or smoke alarm goes off.
    I don’t remember how I stumbled onto Budget Bytes during the holidays. Your recipes are simple, manageable and delicious! Vowed to cook more and eat out less this year and your site is keeping me to my word.
    My wallet thanks you!
    My feet thank you!

  16. Katie says:

    I’m new to Budget Bytes but I’m already in love! I’ve already tried a few of the recipes and I’ve enjoyed every single one! I’ve never been much of a chef but these recipes are so simple and delicious, I feel like I’ve accomplished some culinary genius when I’m done. I love what you’re doing!

  17. Oh God I am in love with your website. I am saving every recipe. This is what I have been needing, and looking for, delicious cheap, but not really cheap, meals for my husband and I… I seriously can’t wait to start cooking, saving money, and enjoying my food!! :D Extremely thankful for your work <3 I am cooking right now.

  18. Dear Budget Bytes,

    I was introduced to your website this morning and I fell in love with it! I have been in a rut in the kitchen lately. I need new meal ideas for week days (I work full-time) and found lots on your site. Thank you for the very inspiring and easy to prepare meals. The fact that they don’t cost an arm and a leg to prepare is a bonus! Keep up the great work.

  19. James says:

    I wanted to let you know how awesome your website is. I’m a recent college grad working full-time in the New York city area, so needless to say I’m strapped for time and always on a budget. I’ve tried countless recipes of yours and have yet to find one I don’t like. I’m always pushing the envelope and trying dishes that I don’t think I’d enjoy, but am continually proven wrong (African peanut soup is bomb). I try to eat healthy and your recipes make it easy and affordable for me. Just wanted to say thanks!

  20. Luna says:

    I started visiting your website only recently and it’s really helpfull. because I study, I have to eat lunch outside and I need simple, quick and affordable recipies to make every evening before and even easy meals to store away for some day later! you really came out with some brilliant ideas!!

  21. 9/1/14–I looked today for a new food site to explore. To my delight I found the Sausage and Mushroom Pasta recipe. I didn’t have whole sausages on hand. I used a one pound package of Jamestown bulk sausage. My husband will love this for dinner tonight. It was super easy, tastes great, and cooked all in the same pot.
    I think your site is nice and sent the link to my Daughter to try. Now that fall is arriving, I can’t wait to try the recipe for crockpot navy bean soup.
    Thanks Beth!

  22. Kathleen says:

    I have just started trying the recipes on here and I am loving it! I am going back to school this fall so I have been thinking about how to save money on food and boom! I think I’m on my way. Thank you Beth:)

    I like how there are lots of vegetarian options. I have been wanting to move away from meat for a couple of reasons, cost being one of them. I don’t see myself going totally vegetarian, but I’d like to rely much less on meat.

    I also like how I can see a lot of these recipes being made for a single person. I can see having them as leftovers, sizing down, or freezing.

    Keep up the great work!

  23. Camille says:

    Great website! I definitely use your recipes to feed myself and my family. Money is tough for me, especially as a broke college kid. Keep up the awesome work!

  24. Absolutely love this website! Not only are the recipes delicious, but they’re not intimidating, and best of all, they’re cost effective…plus, the majority of them make great lunches for the next day. Thanks so much :)

  25. Kelly Rhodes says:


    I just found your website and I love it! I just returned to college and was worried about how to make ends meet. Your site is giving me hope that I won’t have to eat raman for the next two years…thank you!

  26. Moira says:

    I haven’t added a new cooking site to my newsfeed for two years. I just added yours. I feel like I’m following myself around the kitchen with your recipes ! Love the one-pot pasta boil. Been doing it for years.

    I’m an advertising maniac, chef and single mother of 2 teenagers on a budget all our lives: we’re going in 3 directions at once, and I insist on home-grown foods … if they ever want to drive their own cars!

    Pumpkin oatmeal marinating overnight !

  27. Radmun says:


    I found your blog yesterday and I have already made three dishes; Greek marinated chicken (on the grill), Lemony cucumber with couscous and Naan. Tonight it will be your portobello polenta bowls which I will grill a little Italian sausage to go along with it.

    I think your site is fantastic and I look forward to cooking may, many of your dishes. If I was not married I am sure I would be in love with you and your cooking ;-)

    Keep up the great work!

  28. Brandi says:

    I am a hardcore meal planner. It’s my favorite hobby. A while back I found your Coconut Chicken recipe on Pinterest. My boyfriend and I loved it! It has become his favorite food. I’ve tried it with shrimp as we’ll and it was awesome! I was super excited to see the Budget Bytes book on the shelf during my last trip to the book store. My current meal plan is made of your recipes that I can’t wait to try out and experiment with.
    Here’s to a happy stomach and great savings! Thank you!

  29. Dear Lady Budget Bytes,
    THANK YOU! your dishes are not only delious but they are fun to make. I have used your recipes for the past 2 weeks and am in love (: Tonight I am making your chili mac recipe.

    Many thanks!

  30. Anne says:

    Just stumbled on your website when I was looking for easy ways to use up some leftovers in my freezer. I love the site! I typically plan my weekly menu by what is on sale in the weekly grocery store flyer. But, the sale items repeat regularly and I am getting tired of the choices so I am thrilled to find a different budget friendly way to plan my weekly menus. Thank you!

  31. Samantha says:

    I’m pretty sure I comment on like every recipe you post, but I just needed to say that you made me confident in cooking. I used to be afraid of cooking (I was always a baker, not a cook), but now choosing my meals is the highlight of my week. Thank you for everything, and I can’t wait to get your book!!! I’ve asked for it for my birthday and I am eagerly awaiting ;)

  32. Real Jersey Housewife says:

    Love your site! I was wondering do you budget for a family of 4. My life has turned upside down I have been sick, my one daughter got laid off,one in college,one looking for another job money has been very tight. I try to stay with whole foods and clean. A lot of veg. And fruits,grains and nuts. Not so much meat to expensive not good for you either. I was wandering if I could save so more money. Thank You! PEACE to you!

  33. Paul says:

    Beth, you’re awesome. I’m in college and as you can imagine budgeting is a big part of my life. Although I have only cooked the yakisoba at this point, tonight I am cooking the turkey sriracha meatballs for my girlfriend and I know they will turn out great. I cooked the yakisoba for my parents as well as my girlfriends parents and they all love it. Keep up the good work. I’ll be buying your book soon. And if anyone deserving a cooking show on Tv, it should be you.

    Many thanks from my wallet and I.

  34. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Ie, it looks fine but when opening in
    Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads
    up! Other then that, very good blog!

  35. Hey Beth, love the site and and overall spirit of what your doing. Great tips for saving in tough times. Keep it up.

  36. Amber Leigh says:

    So I was at work (office job) and was planning my bi-weekly menu (REALLY boring office job) and decided I wanted cajun chicken pasta, first results was your recipe. I saved it and savored the idea for a week but finally tried it a few days ago, I’m still enjoying the delicious leftovers. But I had a weird question, while I was looking through pictures I noticed you use a lot of name brand spices and herbs. I was wondering if in your area they’re less expensive, or if you don’t have access to the mexican spice packets my area has. It’s usually $.50-$1.00 per packet and they have a lot of varieties. Maybe check it out (prices are definitely better in store…)


    • I think I have seen those at a few stores, as a matter of fact. They don’t carry it at my neighborhood store (where I shop most of the time now), but I’ve definitely bought their cinnamon sticks! So much less expensive than when you buy them in the spice aisle. Thanks for sharing! :D

  37. Sara says:

    As a second year college student, it is extremely difficult to find satisfying food that does not taste like the bottom of the oven. Thank you for the recipes, they are cheap and satisfying.

  38. Lojie says:

    I just found your site and it’s already my favorite! I’m working on budgeting and cutting down on food costs is my goal for the new year, then I find your site! LOVE it! ;D

  39. Amanda says:

    Love, love, love your site!! Great job!

  40. Madison says:

    I love your blog thank you so much! Finally a food blog that is easy to navigate, doesn’t use really strange or expensive ingredient, and can get dinner on the table quickly!

  41. Sarah Beth says:

    Hello! I just have to tell you that I have really enjoyed your blog over the past few weeks. I have been making several of your recipes (tomato soup, various baked oatmeal flavors, Cajun chicken pasta, and sesame chicken to name a few). My husband and my 2 year old are loving it! I recently stopped working to be a full time mom and these recipes are helping me plan and shop on our limited budget. Thank you! Best wishes to you!

  42. Laura says:

    I love your website. It’s cute, functional and not over the top: totally do-able for a mama trying to feed two picky eaters and an even pickier love-of-my-life (hubs). I’m needing some more spice in my cheap-eats menu and I’m eager to try…pretty much every one of your recipes. Thanks for this.

  43. Kenzie says:

    Hey Beth! Your blog is one of my absolute favorites. It would be so great if you did a post about YOUR favorite food blogs — because you have such great taste & I would love to know some of your recommendations! Thanks :)

    • I’ll have to do that! I really don’t frequent other blogs that much these days, but there are some that are so beautiful that I keep coming back :)

  44. I just have to say, I LOVE your website. It’s amazing! Every recipe I’ve tried has been a “repeater”, and it looks restaurant-quality and super impressive. You’re photography is amazing…I think I drool everytime I visit this site. Thanks so much for providing me with these delicious, fast, and not overwhelmingly difficult recipes. :)

  45. ‘Ello! Many of your recipes, especially the bowls which I love, are freezeable. Any general directions on how to reheat them? Defrost then reheat or reheat immediately? I’m a bit of a dummy in this regard, so it’d be helpful if you can have some general directions? Thanks!

    • When it’s a small container (like a single portion) I don’t even bother with the defrost setting. I just microwave for a minute or two on high power, give it a stir, and then microwave for a minute or two more until it’s hot all the way through. I also like to set the lid for the resealable container loosely over top to help hold in moisture without making it explode (that’s what will happen if you leave the lid snapped shut). I hope that helps! Never feel silly asking questions :)

      • Kathleen says:


        I love the site, but want to make you aware that microwaving plastic leaches all kinds of stuff into your food. If you store in tupperware, please, PLEASE, transfer it to something microwave safe (I get ceramic dishes and bowls at Goodwill…if they break in transit, it isn’t part of a set and cheap to replace.) With all the healthy ingredients you suggest, you don’t want to ruin them with chemicals.

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