I started bulk cooking when I needed to reduce how much I spent on groceries to overpay my debts and pay off £16,000 in one year.
When I started, we spent around £500 per month on food, between expensive convenience food, takeaways and eating out. We both worked full time and were disorganised when it came to food, meaning we reached for easy to prepare and ready made options, and paid a premium to grab food on the go or meals out. But when we started paying off debt, we knew we had to transform our habits to save money.
Nowadays, thanks to bulk cooking, we have slashed our food costs in half, while at the same time, eating healthier, tastier and more nutritious food that we did before. And gone are the days of doing tons of preparation and dishes in the evening, as everything is ready to go. So if you want the convenience of a ready meal at the cost of homecooked meal, without spending a few hours every night in the kitchen, then read on. Here are some of my most frequently asked questions on Instagram about bulk cooking, along with my experiences.
Is bulk cooking a meal time-consuming? How much time should I set aside?
Bulk cooking a meal should only take a little longer than the time it takes to make a single portion, as you will find that you will still prep the same meal, but just have some additional chopping and prepping. So if you are prepping a meal for hour, you might as well prep the same meal for twelve, and freeze eight portions for easy dinners later in the week.
With the small amount of extra time it takes to bulk cook, remember that you are gaining time when you don’t have to prep a meal because it’s already done and in the freezer. So for example, let’s say you prep seven dinners and it takes 30 mins to prep each one, plus 30 minutes to clean up, therefore seven hours. Say instead you bulk cook those seven meals and it takes 45 minutes to bulk cook, and 45 minutes to clean up, plus 5 minutes to reheat each meal when you plan to eat it, plus 5 minutes to clean up. This means you’ll spend two hours and 40 minutes on bulk prepping, saving you three hours and 20 minutes overall.
Each recipe on Bulk Cook on a Budget details the amount of time it takes to prep a meal, so you know how much time you should expect to spend in advance. This means that you can pencil in time when it suits to tackle your bulk cook, and get your time back when you simply have to reheat your meal.
How much money should I expect to save by bulk prepping?
It depends on how much you currently spend on your groceries. As a guide, most of the meals on Bulk Cook on a Budget aim to come in at between 50p to £1.50 per meal, to strike a balance between getting enough good food and nutrition into each meal without breaking the bank. So, as an average, if you bulk prep your meals, you should expect to spend about £90 per month on breakfast, lunch and dinner for the month for one person. Obviously, you need to add in snacks and other food to gauge how much your grocery spends will drop overall, but take £90 per month on meal costs as a rough guide to how much you’ll expect to spend. Considering you could buy about three takeaways, three coffees, three pre-packaged sandwiches and three ready meals for the same amount, meals for the month for £90 is a pretty hefty saving.
Do I have to have specialised equipment to bulk cook?
I don’t! The equipment I use is detailed in each recipe, but there is nothing about bulk cook that cannot be achieved with a chopping board, a good knife, and the biggest pot you have. I also use a number of basic items that I expect most people already have, like a cheese grater and measuring cup.
Over the three years I’ve been bulk cooking, I’ve invested some of the savings I’ve made into cooking equipment, like a food processor, electric mixer and good storage solutions for my meals. All of these items can be found on Amazon and similar retailers (and I’ve affiliate linked them on this blog where appropriate, meaning I get a commission on sales on items that I’ve previously bought and am happy to endorse at no further cost to anyone who uses the link). If you don’t have any of these items, please don’t be put off bulk cooking. I started bulk cooking with the kitchenware I already had to hand, and you should, too.
If you want to save money, time and energy while still eating healthy, nutritious and homemade meals, bulk cooking is the answer! So whether you want dinner ideas, need lots of lunch inspiration, require some bulk breakfast recipes, or just want to start stashing some homemade snacks, Bulk Cook on a Budget has it covered.