Money-saving kitchen tricks

Get more out of your ingredients and make your budget go further with these ideas.

1. Twist your pesto

Pesto isn’t just great for using up fresh herbs – you can use any leafy greens you have on hand. Bulk up traditional basil pesto with baby spinach, blanched kale leaves or the tops from a bunch of Dutch carrots. Store homemade pesto in an airtight container in the fridge, covered with a layer of olive oil, for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Bowl of pesto with carrots on the side

2. Overnight oats 

Breakfast skippers beware – when hunger hits you’ll be more likely to fork out on snacks. Beat the morning rush with a big batch of overnight oats – they’re a perfect budget staple. Then all you have to do is add toppings of fruit and toasted nuts to serve. Make it in individual jars for a filling and budget-friendly brekkie to go.

Jar of overnight oats with raspberries on top

3. Save the oil 

Don’t throw out the oil from canned tuna and anchovies or jars of olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chargrilled vegetables – it’s practically liquid gold! Keep the oil in a jar in the fridge for up to a week and use it to add instant flavour to salads, pasta sauces and casseroles like this smoky beef and pumpkin stew. 

Beef and pumpkin stew with toasted bread in the side

4. Swap it 

Save with these easy ingredient swaps.

Swap fresh berries for frozen. Keep frozen berries on hand to use in baking – it’s best not to thaw them before mixing into a cake or muffin batter so they hold their shape better.

Swap prosciutto for bacon. Try wrapping strips of bacon around chicken breast fillets for extra flavour.  

Swap nuts for seeds. Toast sunflower seeds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to use in pesto and bliss balls, or sprinkle them over salads and brekkie bowls.

Bowl of toasted seeds

5. Make room for legumes 

Beans, lentils and chickpeas are perfect in plant-based meals and are also a great way to make meat go further in soups, casseroles, sauces and salads. Keep cans in the pantry or get even more value with dried varieties – just soak them overnight, if necessary, and cook following packet directions.

Pumpking soup with roasted chickpeas and corriander

6. Cooking cubes 

Use ice cube trays to freeze leftover citrus juice, wine, tomato paste, curry paste, coconut milk, stock, yoghurt, pesto and fruit puree. Once frozen, transfer to labelled sealable plastic bags so you can reuse the tray.

Stocks frozen into cubes