Just because a recipe calls for a pricey ingredient doesn’t mean you have to skip it to stay on budget. Consider making a simple swap instead – creativity is key when it comes to cutting out processed food without breaking the bank!
10 Ingredient Swaps to Save You Money
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of breasts >> Save $0.80 (per pound)
I often prefer the flavor of chicken thighs over breasts, so this one is a win-win in my opinion.
- Black or pinto beans for half the ground beef in tacos >> Save $1.05 (per pound)
I often just double my taco meat by adding 1 to 2 cans of (drained) beans to 1 pound of ground meat as well as double the spices.
- Lentils for half the ground beef in spaghetti sauce >> Save $0.81 (per pound)
Another great way to stretch ground meat is with veggie and other add-ins such as mushrooms, lentils and minced carrots.
- Walnuts instead of pine nuts >> Save $5.50 (per 4 ounces)
Pine nuts are good, but boy – are they pricey! Try out walnuts instead for pesto and salad toppers.
- Cream cheese instead of goat cheese >> Save $9.98 (per 8 ounces)
When used as a spread on crackers or grilled sandwiches, cream cheese would be just as tasty.
- Frozen berries instead of fresh >> Save $2 (per pound of strawberries)
Especially if you are using berries in a recipe (such as a smoothie or muffins) go with frozen – I never use fresh for that!
- Dried beans for canned >> Save $2.03 (per pound)
You’d obviously need to cook them first, but it’s far cheaper than buying the beans in the can.
- Dried herbs for fresh >> Save $3 (per purchase)
Substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (unless you grow your own, of course!)
- Chicken or veggie broth instead of wine >> Save $2.91 (per bottle)
The flavor is not going to be identical here, but it will definitely work if you’re trying to pull together a sauce on a budget.
- Honey for pure maple syrup >> Save $3.32 (per 8 ounces)
Whether it’s to go in a recipe or on top of your morning waffles, honey is often a cheaper substitute.
I’d love to hear your favorite real food budget substitutions in the comments!