Helpful tips for budget recipes

We know that for many households the food shop can be a pretty expensive regular spend. The rising cost of living has made food shopping even more expensive, so to try and help you save money where possible, we’ve created this blog covering helpful tips for budget recipes.

Whether you’re looking for easy options, recipes for two, or some recipes if you’re trying to eat a bit healthier for less, these budget recipes and tips will hopefully help you to get the most out of your weekly shop.

This content is intended to be an impartial blog offering ideas about budget recipes. Lowell Financial Ltd do not provide financial advice.

Useful tips for eating on a budget

Other than the upcoming budget recipes, there are some other basic tips that you can follow to cut costs and eat for less:

  • Plan your meals ahead so that you know what you’re making when doing your food shop. Doing this also means you can pick recipes that use similar ingredients, so you have to buy less overall.
  • Try picking recipes that use items you already have. This will mean you are making the most of what you have at home and help save you money.
  • Save your leftovers for another day. This is one of the best ways to make the most of your ingredients as well as being a super easy option if you’re in a rush.
  • Store your food correctly. Make sure that you’re putting food where it needs to be so that it lasts as long as possible.

We understand that this isn’t always enough and when it comes to making the most of your money when it comes to shopping in general, here are some other top tips:

  • Keep track of your food spending and create a weekly budget to make sure you’re not accidentally overspending.
  • Look out for offers online before purchasing in-store as you can usually find all sorts of deals that mean you can make the most of your money.
  • Before heading out, write a shopping list so you know exactly what you need and don’t buy anything that you don’t need or are unlikely to use.
  • Swap branded items for a supermarket’s own version to bring down the cost per portion
  • Find vouchers or use a loyalty card to earn points that you might be able to use towards getting money off your shop.
  • Don’t do the food shop when you’re hungry as you’re more likely to buy things in the moment that you don’t need.

You can read StepChange’s guide on saving money on food and meals to find out more about this. National Debtline has its own guide on how to save on your grocery bills also.

Budget recipes for 2

When it comes to following recipes, a lot of the time the portions are for more than two people which can leave you with unwanted leftovers. While you can usually keep your leftovers for another day or half the recipe’s ingredients, if you’re interested in simple budget recipes specifically for 2, check out the ones we’ve found.

Red lentil & carrot soup

This red lentil and carrot soup recipe from BBC Good Food is a perfect budget recipe for those days when you need something warm and comforting. Not only that, but this yummy homemade soup is suitable for vegetarians and freezable too.

Here’s what you’ll need for two servings:

  • 1 white onion
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots
  • 85g of red lentils
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Get the recipe: Red lentil soup

One-pot tomato pasta recipe

Looking for a yummy yet budget-friendly pasta recipe? Look no further than this super simple one-pot tomato pasta recipe from Tesco Real Food. If you want to give it a go, this is what you’ll need to make sure to have in:

  • 4 teaspoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh or dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves or 1 teaspoon of garlic granules
  • 1 onion
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • Around 250g of spaghetti

Get the recipe: One-pot tomato pasta recipe

Healthy eating on a budget recipes

Eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be difficult. To show you just how simple it can be, we’ve found some straightforward healthy yet budget-friendly recipes you can try for yourself.

Loaded vegetable paella

A colourful dinner, this loaded vegetable paella definitely helps work towards your 5 a day and takes only 20 minutes to prepare. If you’re in the mood for this Spanish dish, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 red peppers
  • 350g paella rice
  • 500g frozen vegetable mix
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper

Get the recipe: Loaded vegetable paella

Sweet potato curry

A budget-friendly recipes for when you want to try something different, this sweet potato recipe from Savvy Bites makes six servings so you’ll definitely be able to feed the family or freeze any leftovers for another day. Using less than 10 ingredients it certainly doesn’t compromise on flavour, here’s everything you’ll need:

  • 500g sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 4 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 400ml tin of coconut milk
  • 300ml water
  • 300g spinach
  • Optional topping: 3 tablespoons cashews, ½ bunch basil, ½ bunch coriander

Get the recipe: Sweet potato curry

Feeding a family on a budget recipes

Perhaps you’re interested in recipes for when you’re eating on a budget that are suitable for feeding the whole family. Here are some that are bound to please everyone and are cost-effective as well.

Creamy pesto chicken pasta

A pasta dish is an absolute classic when cooking for the family, especially as it’s usually about speed. This delicious creamy pesto chicken pasta recipe takes 30 minutes to prepare in total and can serve 4.

While the recipe originally calls for a standard jar of pesto, you can make this even more budget friendly by making your own. So, if you want to give this recipe a go, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 400g pasta (any type)
  • Jack Monroe’s salad-bag pesto
  • 300ml crème fraiche
  • Parmesan
  • Basil (optional)

Get the recipe: Jack Monroe’s salad-bag pesto and Netmums’ creamy pesto chicken

Chicken fajitas

Eating on a budget doesn’t mean you have to settle for tasteless food and this chicken fajita recipe from Savings 4 Savvy Mums makes for a great fakeaway. Part of this recipe can involve making your own fajita seasoning but it’s super simple and only involves combining common spices you’ve likely already got at home. To make your chicken fajitas, this is what you’ll need to get in:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 150g frozen mixed peppers
  • 50ml lime juice
  • 1tsp salt
  • 10g fajita seasoning

Meanwhile, for the fajita seasoning you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ½ tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

Get the recipe: Chicken fajitas and fajita seasoning

If you’re a Lowell customer and are struggling with your finances, please get in touch with our friendly team to talk about how we can work together and support you with your debt.

You can find all sorts of articles about managing your finances on the Lowell blog. And if you want to educate yourself on all things debt-related then be sure to check out our debt guidance hub.

Published by Stephanie North-Shaw on 20th February 2023

Want to keep reading?

6 min read

How to create a budget and manage your money

Discover Lowell's guide to budgeting, using our budget calculator and top tips for budgeting, to help you get control of your finances and clear your debt.

Libby Davis
Read more
10 min read

Helpful tips for budget packed lunches

If you’re looking to cut back on your food spending, here are some cheap packed lunch ideas for both adults and kids that are going to save you money.

Stephanie North-Shaw
Read more