How to Eat Your Way Out of Debt

Being frugal about food can be critical to your ability to budget effectively — especially during the busy work week. While there’s nothing wrong with going out to eat every once in a while or on the weekends, mostly families can’t afford eating out 7 days a week. So here’s a little advice to help you save Monday through Friday…

We understand that most people are tired when they get home from work — we are, too! So plan meals that are inexpensive, easy to make, and nutritious. Think pasta tossed with fresh vegetables and topped with a little cheese. You can use some pre-prepped ingredients and fresh meats and produce to make a great meal that’s nutritious and affordable.

Since cooking at home is one of the easiest ways to save money, Consolidated Credit was intrigued to read something called the Allrecipe 2014 Measuring Cup Trend Report.

Allrecipe is an online cooking community that says it gets 1 billion visits a year. While Allrecipe is all about taste, Consolidated Credit likes how its emphasis on home cooking can save money.

“As we enter into the New Year, we will look forward to seeing more home cooks get back to the kitchen as part of a growing DIY trend and experimenting with new flavors, ingredients and recipes,” says Esmee Williams, the Allrecipes vice president of brand marketing.

Here are our favorite trends for the New Year…

1. “Sweets Take a Back Seat to Savory”

Some daring Allrecipe members are using bacon, basil and rosemary in their desserts. Thankfully, most are sticking to this: “The dual savory/sweet flavor of salted caramel is the top flavor choice for desserts with a 61 percent preference rating. And, regardless of flavor, home cooks across the country prefer cupcakes (61 percent) to ice cream (34 percent) for after-dinner treats.”

2. “Putting Meat under the Microscope”

More home cooks are paying closer to attention to where their food comes from – especially meat. “When purchasing specialty meats, nearly half of home cooks (49 percent) say hormone-free and grass-fed will continue to be their top purchasing criteria.” While that’s not exactly a cheap buy, it’s still better than eating out.

3. “Home Cooks Look Outside the Box”

Opening a box of prepared food certainly is easy and cheap. But the opposite trend is taking hold: “Recipes that were commonly prepared from a box, including pancakes and macaroni and cheese, are now being made from scratch thanks to a growing DIY trend in the kitchen.” While this will take much more time, the savings can add up because you’re eating healthier and not paying someone else to prepare the food for you.

We obviously need food to survive, but we don’t need to go out to lunch every day of the week.” So learning to cook and feel comfortable in your own kitchen can help your bottom line as much as your waistline.