This Thrifty Blogger Dishes on Her Least Expensive Meal

Beth Moncel of Budget Bytes was cooking with what she had before the quarantine

Sam Hill
Heated
Published in
7 min readApr 8, 2020

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Beth Moncel has been blogging about cooking on a small budget at Budget Bytes for over a decade, developing recipes that highlight inexpensive ingredients that can be made for just a couple of dollars per serving. Photos courtesy of Beth Moncel.

With grocery store shelves cleared off across the country, the chances of finding every ingredient on your shopping list are slim. COVID-19-related closures and social distancing are changing the way we shop, and a lot of folks are stocking up on pantry staples for the first time.

The bean market is booming, even though a lot of people don’t seem to know how to cook or serve beans; people are stocking up on bottled water for no identifiable reason, and people are hoarding frozen meals and pizzas. While the food media boom has taught us how to prepare complex dishes with the advice of professional chefs, we’re less adept when it comes to cooking with what we’ve got.

Food blogger Beth Moncel has been ahead of the curve with Budget Bytes, a website dedicated to easy-to-prepare, budget-friendly cooking. The project launched in 2009, shortly after Moncel graduated from college with a degree in nutritional science and quickly started “losing the battle with adulthood.” Looking to cut all discretionary spending from her budget and unwilling to live off packaged ramen noodles, she started tracking every penny and developing recipes on her blog that were cost-saving and…

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Sam Hill
Heated
Writer for

Sam Hill is a freelance journalist living in Portland, Ore. He’s written for Digital Trends, Outside Magazine, Serious Eats, Boston Magazine and other outlets.