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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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29 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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 :)

  4. Kelly Rhodes says:

    Beth,

    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!

  5. 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 !

  6. Radmun says:

    Beth,

    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!

  7. 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!
    Brandi

  8. 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!
    Leslie

  9. 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!

  10. 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 ;)

  11. 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!

  12. 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.
    -Paul

  13. 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!

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

  15. 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…)

    http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A16310281%2Cp_4%3AEl%20Guapo

    • 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

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. Amanda says:

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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 :)

  23. 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. :)

  24. ‘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:

        Beth,

        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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