Creating delicious and nutritious dinners can not only be extremely time consuming, but can burn a hole in your pocket too! There are a few simple things you can do to not only spare you a few dollars but save you bucket loads of time and energy.

1. Prepare meals ahead of time in bulk

Choose one day a week to shop and cook enough meals to last your family the week. This will limit any temptation of sneaking in an unplanned take-out.
Utilise your barbecue to cook all of the meat in one go. Also, a slow-cooker is a great way to create a week’s worth of stews, curries or sauces.
Storing in the freezer will keep your meals ready for you to reheat for whenever you are hungry. A great tip is to place enough sauce for one meal in a zip lock bag and freeze flat to save space.

2. Use a meal plan and shopping list.

Before going grocery shopping, have a look through catalogues and base your meal plan on the weekly specials. Utilise your left overs to really get a bang for your buck.
Only write on your shopping list, exactly what you need for those meals and maybe a treat or two if your budget allows. Only shop for those items and ensure you go shopping after a meal so you are not tempted to drop a few chocolates into your trolley.

3. Remaster your left-overs

Don’t leave your left-overs to collect mould in the back of the fridge. Cooked meat is perfect for stews, bakes, pies or even shredded and added to tacos. If you know you will be cooking a roast, plan to make sandwiches or a salad with the left-over meat for lunches the next day.
Another option is a delicious frittata using your left-over vegetables and a few eggs or throw them all in a pot for a comforting minestrone soup.
Got any herbs left over? Blend them into butter and freeze for a tasty herb-butter to pop on bread for a late-night treat. Herbs can also be added to good-quality olive oil to create fantastic flavoured oils, if bought in stores can be quite pricey.
Don’t forget the bones! You can make a broth to keep in the fridge for later in the week just by adding bones and water to a heavy based pot.

4. Eat-out on discount nights.

Sticking to a tight budget does not mean you have to miss out on the finer things in life, like eating-out. Many restaurants will offer two-for-one meals, kid’s eat free nights or VIP savings.
Sign-up for any VIP or member’s programs restaurants offer near you so you know exactly when the best savings are on.

Looking for a restaurant?

Now you know how to save a few dollars on your weekly dinner budget, why not treat yourself to one of Newcastle’s many restaurants.
Hog’s Breath Cafe Newcastle
Specialising in prime-rib steaks, Hog’s Breath Cafe has something on the menu for everyone. You can enjoy your meal and know you are saving 25 per cent on your main meal when you sign-up for their Frequent Diner’s card. Overlooking the water, Hog’s Breath Cafe is the perfect place to kick back and relax. Check out their daily specials board for even more savings.
Where: 7 Honeysuckle Drv, Newcastle NSW 2300

Raj’s Corner
Dine-in or take-away from Newcastle’s self-proclaimed ‘Best Indian Food’, open 7 days a week. Catering for small or large groups, Raj’s Corner is the perfect place for a quiet mid-week dinner or weekend catch-up with friends. Take advantage of their free 5-kilometre home delivery or drop by to see Raj’s Corner’s latest promotion and specials.
Where: 116 Beaumont Street, Hamilton NSW 2303


What are your favourite tips for creating budget-friendly and delicious meals? Share your top tips in the comments below.