Frugal Living – Cooking 101

There are many tips to saving money. One of the most crucial tips in my opinion is learning to cook so you can eat at home and pack lunches to work.

Here is a comparison story to help illustrate how much one can save by cooking.

An ex-boyfriend of mine was not into cooking. He was all about convenience. His daily workday ritual consisted of this:

Breakfast – a large coffee at the local artisan coffee shop $2.50, pastry $4, cheap coffee $1
Lunch – takeout lunch at food truck approx $8-12
Dinner – takeout dinner at local restaurant or high-end grocery approx $10-$15

Total weekday spend on food was approx $150.

Weekends meant dining out so add on another $50. Another $50 for weekend food consumption.

That’s a total of $250 per week or $13,000 a year on food. Crazy huh?


In comparison, I cook most of my meals. That’s breakfast, lunch and dinner cooked at home. Plus the occasional take-out. Here is my breakdown:

Groceries – $240 a month
Takeout (2-3 times a month) – $30
Eating out (once a month) – $30

Total monthly spend on food $300 or $3,600 a year on food.



Um…yea. So you can obviously see the benefits of cooking.

But wahhhh! Cooking takes up so much of my time! Some may complain.

I seriously don’t understand the complainers. When you cook, not only do you save money, and eat healthier, but you get to eat food the way YOU like it. Since I’ve learned to cook, I have actually grown to enjoy my cooking waaaay more than what I eat at restaurants. What I’ve noticed since learning to cook is that a lot of the food served at restaurants is such crap. With the exception of chichi restaurants, most places are taking crappy ingredients and quickly putting it together to form a meal. Even chain restaurants are guilty of serving sucky food in my opinion, with most ingredients being frozen then deep fried to hell.

When I cook I can season my food the way I want. I can add or omit ingredients to my liking. Heavy on the garlic and onion is my usual preference. I enjoy my rice on the wetter side. Pasta always means extra cheese. I’m a salt fiend.

Here are a few cooking blogs to help you get started:

Budget Bytes – budget friendly meals
Maangchi – learn to cook korean!
Martha Stewart – go to guide for classic american dishes
The Pioneer Woman – lots of delicious deserts and wholesame american meals
Proud Italian Cook
– simple and healthy Italian recipes
Rasa Malaysia – best guide for asian (in particular SE asian) recipes
Smitten Kitchen – for a bit of fancy cooking
Thai Table – super authentic Thai recipes
The Woks of Life – for authentic and the more familiar takeout Chinese food recipes

Here’s my pinterest page chock full of my favorite recipes: click me

And a very popular, very easy, no knead bread recipe (3 ingredients, NEVER BUY BREAD AGAIN!): Mark Bittman


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