Filling Bellies on a Budget

It’s no secret that food costs are rising in Aotearoa and budgets are tightening for many people.  Whether you’re a traditional family household, a single person on your own, a house full of flatties, or any other configuration, keeping the food bills down while also feeding everyone nutritious and delicious meals is hard work.  The good news is, we have plenty of resources to help you find ways to fill bellies on a budget.

Destitute gourmet : over 80 affordable and tasty new recipes plus fan favourites / Gray, Sophie
“Packed with tips and tricks, this new book from Sophie includes 20 fan favourites from her earlier books, voted for by her loyal followers, plus over 80 new recipes. One-pan dinners, vegetarian recipes, meaty meals, salads and snacks plus baking and desserts -there’s something for everyone. Stick within your budget, but eat well and enjoy!”  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Eat well for less New Zealand / Van de Elzen, Michael
“The New Zealand version of Eat Well for Less was a big hit and had a huge impact on the families involved. This book gives all the recipes from series 1 and series 2, plus tips and tricks on tasty, easy and economical cooking from the hosts Michael Van de Elzen and Ganesh Raj. With nearly 70 recipes from light meals and snacks, to main meals and sweet treats…Includes ideas on smart shopping, nutrition, kitchen tips, and a peek at the participants from series 1 and how they fared after the cameras stopped rolling. Did the lessons they learned stick?!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The thrifty pantry : budget-saver family favourites from under $2.50 per serve
“With 100 recipes using cupboard and freezer staples and each recipe costed, this will be your go-to cookbook for cooking on a budget. Chapters are organised into cost per serve, starting from just $2, plus there’s a handy recipe key for gluten free, vegetarian and freeze-ahead meals. Festive recipes get a budget overhaul as well, with recipes for Christmas on a shoestring. We also list our top 50 healthy pantry foods and include insider tips on how to organise your pantry. Triple tested, easy and delicious, this is budget family cooking at its best.” (Catalogue)

A girl called Jack : 100 delicious budget recipes / Monroe, Jack
“Jack is a woman of our times, facing head-on the realities of recession-hit Britain and responding with a ‘make do and mend’ way of thinking that we should all consider. When she found herself unemployed and with a food budget of just 10 pounds a week, she decided to address the situation by adapting her weekly shop and embracing the value range of her local supermarket. Keeping to her budget, she created recipe after recipe of nutritious food for herself and her son, which she then posted on her blog, A Girl Called Jack. In her first cookbook, Jack shows you how to adapt the way you shop to be less wasteful, and to value the techniques of inexpensive but good cooking.” (adapted from catalogue)

The thrifty veggie : economical, sustainable meals from store-cupboard ingredients / Graimes, Nicola
“Harness every season’s flavours with recipes combining fresh produce with lasting staples – clever and delectable vegetarian recipes that can make a real difference to your household budget. Seasonal eating – when done right – is wonderful for your tastebuds, your mind, and your bank account.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Weekly provisions : how to eat seasonally and love what’s left over / Duke, Kim “Weekly Provisions is packed with recipes for 12 complete menus – each with a starter, main, side dish and dessert – followed by more than 60 creative ideas for turning what’s left into new meals and snacks during the week. In today’s world, where money is tight and people are busy, taking some time at the weekend to cook and share a truly delicious meal that’s full of comforting goodness can help you to forget your worries, restore balance, and reconnect with loved ones. Best of all, it won’t fill you up for just one day, but leave enough for quick and cheap platefuls later in the week, with zero food waste.  (Adapted from Catalogue)

Broke vegan : over 100 plant-based recipes that don’t cost the earth / Sidey, Saskia
“Easy, affordable vegan recipes everyone will enjoy.  We all want to help do our bit to save the planet by moving towards a plant-based diet, but let’s face it: eating vegan can be expensive. With over 100 plant-based recipes using supermarket staples along with hints and tips for making your food go further, Broke Vegan will have you cooking meals time after time that save money and save the planet. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fakeaway : healthy home-cooked takeaway meals / Bavin, Chris
“Join TV’s Chris Bavin for a fakeaway feast in over 120 simple recipes! Treat yourself and put takeaway food back on the menu with low-calorie curries, stir-fries, pasta dishes, pizzas, as well as good-old fish and chips. If you are vegan, vegetarian, dairy or gluten-free there are plenty of choices for you here. In this book, he shares his healthy ingredient swaps and savvy shopping ideas to buy everything you’ll need for a fakeaway feast.  Refreshingly practical, Fakeaway contains all the inspiration you need to make delicious meals for your family from scratch and on a budget. So put away the takeaway menus and recreate the meals you love but make them better for you.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

These are just some of the recent titles we have in our collection.  To browse some more, click here.  Bon apetit!

Live well, spend less – a booklist

Make every dollar work for you while also enjoying your food, home, and giving great gifts. Have a browse of the books below for tasty recipes that use everyday ingredients, decorating ideas to make your home yours in a rental, tips for growing food in the backyard, and living life well while also saving money.

Interested in one of these titles but it’s not at a branch near you? You can have books delivered to a branch near you, by clicking on the ‘Place Reserve’ button.

Here are also some useful and free resources:


Live well, spend less : easy ways to save money in every part of your life / Gray, Sophie
“This simple, practical and definitely not boring book on living well while spending less will appeal to families but also to students, flatters and fixed income households. It incorporates tips, suggestions and strategies  with a light-hearted, easy-to-apply and, honest approach. Covering all aspects of life, there are suggestions for making money as well using less of it.  Topics include: food, energy, cleaning, cars, outdoors; family life, kids and money, leisure, celebrations, looking sharp and presents.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

5 ingredients : quick & easy food / Oliver, Jamie
“Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated – that’s why Jamie’s Quick & Easy 5-Ingredient Food is sure to become your new best friend in the kitchen. It’s all about making the journey to good food, super-simple. Every recipe uses just five key ingredients, ensuring you can get a plate of food together fast, whether it’s finished and on the table super-quickly, or after minimal hands-on prep, you’ve let the oven do the hard work for you. We’re talking quality over quantity, a little diligence on the cooking front, and in return massive flavour. Each recipe has been tried and tested (and tested again!) to ensure the book is packed with no-fuss, budget-friendly dishes that you can rustle up, any day of the week.” (Catalogue)

Home sweet rented home : transform your home without losing your deposit / Grillo, Medina
“Stylish living in a rented space. You’ve got the keys from your landlord, moved into your new home, and the boxes are unpacked. Now you want to put your stamp on the place, but how do you do this when you can’t redecorate or renovate? Here, interiors blogger Medina Grillo shares her favourite tips, tricks and DIY projects for transforming a rented space. Learn how to create a gallery wall without damaging the paintwork, add a splash of colour with home accessories, update and improve fixtures and fittings — and make your rented house feel like home.” (Catalogue)

Easy on the pocket, easy to prepare : inexpensive family meals / Holst, Simon
“Who said eating needs to be complicated or costly? In Easy on the pocket, Easy to prepare, Simon Holst shows that doing both is within the reach of cooks of any ability.” (Catalogue)

Edible DIY / Baker, Lucy
“Based on the popular Serious Eats column by the same name, Edible DIY includes 75 easy recipes in five chapters: Crunchy, Boozy, Sweet, Spicy, and Jars. With plenty of packaging tips throughout, Edible DIY is the perfect solution for making inexpensive edible gifts in your own kitchen with everything from Chocolate-Peppermint Marshmallows and Coconut Granola to Homemade Sriracha and Espresso Barbeque Sauce. Illustrated with inspirational full-color photography throughout.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Grow all you can eat in 3 square feet
“Want to grow your own vegetables and food, but don’t have enough space for a garden? Don’t let lack of space get in the way of growing healthy, organic foods at home. Apartment dwellers, schoolteachers, and anyone else who wants to grow a lot of food in a little space will find a great small garden resource in Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet. Small-space gardeners, find your start in Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet, packed with information on window boxes, potted plants, patio gardening, raised beds, small square-foot gardening, container gardening, and everything else related to growing your own small garden. Whether you want to grow a full garden, grow tomatoes, grow an herb garden, or just pick up great tips for small gardens, Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet is the resource you need.” (Catalogue)

Budget bytes : over 100 easy, delicious recipes to slash your grocery bill in half / Moncel, Beth
“The debut cookbook from the Internet expert on making eating cheap dependably delicious. As a college grad during the recent great recession, Beth Moncel found herself, like so many others, broke. Unwilling to sacrifice eating healthy and well-armed with a degree in nutritional science, Beth began tracking her costs with obsessive precision, and soon cut her grocery bill in half. Eager to share her tips and recipes, she launched her blog, Budget Bytes. Soon the blog received millions of readers clamoring for more.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The budget-wise gardener : with hundreds of money-saving buying & design tips for planting the best for less / Mendez, Kerry Ann
“The Budget-Wise Gardener is here with the inside scoop on nailing the best deals and having it all. Author and “plantaholic” Kerry Ann Mendez is a resourceful garden pro who knows where the bargains are hiding. In these tip-filled pages you will learn: How to select plants that pay for their keep and keep on giving; How to navigate catalogs and garden centers to your benefit; How to time your purchases to take advantage of deep discounts and giveaways; How to find treasures at plant, bulb, and seed swaps; and much more.” (Catalogue)

Op shop chic / Lyons, Rosie
“Op shops are treasure troves of the beautiful and unique. In Op Shop Chic, Rosie Lyons shows you how to recycle your pre-loved finds into sylish and original objects to brighten up your home, garden and wardrobe.” — Back cover.” (Catalogue)

A girl called Jack : 100 delicious budget recipes / Monroe, Jack
“In her first cookbook, Jack shows you how to adapt the way you shop to be less wasteful, and to value the techniques of inexpensive but good cooking. Her recipes are reassuring and just the thing to make confident, budget-conscious cooks of us all, suggesting great alternative ingredients and different approaches to getting a good result – this is real food for real people.” (Catalogue)

Low-cost living / Harrison, John
“This book offers practical ways to save money and energy and make better uses of your resources. When economic conditions are tough, we all need to watch our spending. John Harrison’s simple, tried and tested methods will help you to enjoy a better standard of living while saving money and helping the environment. Discover the benefits of growing your own fruit and vegetables, raising chickens, making butter, cheese and bread, and brewing your own beer. Save energy, save on your bills. Harvest food for free and avoid waste.” (Catalogue)

Law for Lunch at Newtown Library – Dodgy Debt: How to avoid it

Welcome to this week’s Law for Lunch talk, presented by Julia Whaipooti.

Law for Lunch logoJulia is a Kaihāpai Hapori (Community Education Worker) providing legal services to Māori at Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley.
This week’s presentation will be focusing on simple and effective ways to manage your money and everyday expenses and how to avoid bad debt. Come along to ask your questions and find out more about possible solutions.
There’s no need to make a booking and you are welcome to bring your own ‘brown bag’ lunch.

The talk will take place this Wednesday, from 12 noon to 1pm, at the Newtown Library, 13 Constable Street, Newtown. All welcome!

For more information, please check our online Event Calendar.