Giveaway: “Budget Bytes,” a wonderful cookbook.

351095I’ve often said that food is the budget category with the most wiggle room. After all, you usually can’t bargain down your car payment or your rent. Groceries, on the other hand, can be finagled.

That’s how Beth Moncel came to start a blog and later write a book. Her student loans were “eating her alive,” she said, so she had to cut spending. When a car repair knocked her budget sprawling, Moncel decided to spend no more than $6 per day for food in order to pay the freight.

Having earned a bachelor’s degree in nutritional science, she already knew how to make food healthy. Now she just had to make it affordable.

To keep herself on track she created a blog, BudgetBytes.com. Soon she developed quite the fan base, because plenty of us would love to eat well but also cheaply.

Now she’s also got a book, “Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half.” Reading it makes me hungry, filled as it is with ideas like Huevos Rancheros Bowls (served over grits instead of wrapped in corn tortillas), Spinach & Artichoke Pasta, Curried Potato & Pea Soup, Chicken Tamale Pie, Teriyaki Salmon With Sriracha Mayo, Cumin-Lime Sweet Potato Sticks, Firecracker Cauliflower, White Beans With Spinach & Bacon, Savory Coconut Rice, and Southwest Veggie & Rice Casserole.

And oh, damn her, the desserts. Chocolate cake microwaved in a mug. Monkey Bread. Apple Pie Bites. Peach Bubble Cake. Chai Spiced Almonds. Did I really need to know how to make Strawberry-Cream Cheese Quesadillas, which are swell, super-fastย  stand-ins for expensive cheesecake? (Technically, no, but I’m sure glad I learned. They’re really good!)

If you want to cook interesting yet surprisingly simple foods, this is the book for you. Or maybe it’s the perfect gift for a new graduate who’s just getting his or her own place — as Moncel noted, student loans are a bear.

To enter:

If you do any (or all!) of these things, please leave separate, additional comments to get credit for each entry.

The deadline to enter is 7 p.m. PDT Tuesday, April 22. If I donโ€™t hear back from the winners by 10 p.m. PDT Wednesday, April 23, Iโ€™ll pick a new winner. So if you enter, be sure to check your e-mail.

Whether you win or not, be sure to check out her site. That is, unless recipes like S’mores Macarons don’t interest you.

468 ad


  1. Khbride

    As a poor grad student I’d love to try some of her recipes!

  2. Khbride

    I follow on FB & twitter

  3. Khbride

    I subscribe via email too

  4. Would love to come home from my road trip to another good cookbook.

  5. I love the BudgetBytes blog and would really enjoy having this cookbook.

  6. I know a soon to be graduate who would love this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. I subscribe via RSS

  8. I follow your tweets (moeyshay)

  9. I just discovered her blog and I love it!

  10. Tina in NJ

    Sign me up!

  11. I’ld love to save money on cheaper recipes. Sign me up!

  12. Sounds delicious and would also make a great gift for a new grad! I’m hoping the $6/day is for a family…as I currently spend about $3.33/day, so I’m hoping I can afford her delicious-sounding recipes. Thanks for the giveaway.

  13. I subscribe via email.

  14. I follow you on Twitter.

  15. That book sounds great!

  16. Cheap and (relatively) healthy chocolate cake microwaved in a mug? Sign me up!

  17. Linda G

    My loves to cook husband NEEDS this!!!

  18. Linda G

    I subscribe via email.

  19. Caroline Kipps

    This sounds awesome! I am definitely checking out her blog — thanks for the tip.

  20. This looks like a great cookbook!

  21. I love your articles. I would like to learn how to cut my spending
    On groceries.

  22. Sounda wonderful.

  23. Joan V.

    Looking at retirment in the next two years and this would be such a help for me to stay within my budget and eat well. I have to go check out her website. Thanks, Donna!

  24. Joan V.

    I receive your posts via email and I follow you on Facebook.

  25. I subscribe via email

  26. My kind of cookbook! Thanks!

  27. Catseye

    I could really use this book right now.

  28. Catseye

    Of course, I like you on Facebook. ;o)

  29. I love her blog-I’ve made a bunch of her recipes and they were mostly great. Thanks for the giveaway.

  30. Melissa Allison

    I’m going to be a struggling mom of 5 trying to pay back student loans! lol I started college in January, and I’m dreading when the payments start ๐Ÿ™

  31. Melissa Allison

    I already subscribe via email ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. Melissa Allison

    And I already follow you on Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Marci GK

    You had me at chocolate cake!

  34. Marci GK

    I follow on Facebook!

  35. Marci GK

    I am subscribed by email.

  36. Lisa M. Jones

    i follow you on facebook

  37. i follow u on twitterland. LOL

  38. Love to get this cookbook.

  39. Lisa M. Jones

    i am finishing up culinary school this semester, so i am definitely into anything tasty but not costly. i need this to stay frugal yet delicious because i love good food but hate overpaying for groceries. looks like a great book. best wishes to everyone reading this…happy spring.

  40. Sounds like an excellent cook book.

  41. I follow you on Facebook.

  42. This book sounds perfect for me – and I’m glad to know about her blog. Thanks!

  43. subscribe via email!

  44. Would love to win, thank you!

  45. I subscribe through email. Her website has awesome recipes!

  46. Ooh, now I need to know how to make strawberry cream cheese quesadillas!

  47. Also, I follow you on Facebook.

  48. Lilypad

    I checked out her book from the library last month and loved it. I’d sure like to have my own copy. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the opportunity. I am a vegetarian and usually have to skip vast sections of cookbooks but hers had a lot of vegetarian recipes because they are cheap!

  49. Kim Kelley

    I’m always up for another cookbook, and this sounds wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity!

  50. ShellyLynn

    Thank you, would love to own a copy!

  51. Samantha

    DYING to win this! I meant to include it in my last Amazon order but forgot and now have to earn another $30 on Swagbucks first.

  52. Samantha


  53. I subscribe be email and follow on Facebook. What a great site! Going to browse now…

  54. Thanks for the chance to win!

  55. I follow you on Facebook.

  56. I subscribe via email.

  57. I would like a chance to win.

  58. Count me in!!

  59. Thanks for letting us know about her blog! I’m a student (do I even need to say I have a really limited food budget?) and look forward to being able to expand my cooking repertoire! Random number generator, pick me! (Or I will zap you with even more exclamation points – zap! zap! zap!)

  60. I have been inspired by her blog!

  61. The teriyaki salmon sounds good. I would make this first.

  62. I subscribe via email.

  63. Please enter me for drawing! I follow you on FB!

  64. Love Budget Bytes.
    I’ve tried several recipes and haven’t found one that I didn’t like. Plus the pictures are great and the instructions easy to follow – I recommend it to everyone.
    I would LOVE to win the cookbook!

    • Donna Freedman

      It’s a good primer for those who’ve never cooked. The recipes can be made even cheaper if you do things like soak your own beans vs. opening a can, but…one thing at a time! The fact that she gives the easy enchilada sauce recipe will save some folks a ton of money. I had no idea it was that simple to make.

  65. I’ve just subscribed

  66. I’ve just followed you on twitter

  67. Excellent giveaway!

  68. Facebook too.

  69. I’m another recent graduate staring down my student loans. I’d love this book!

  70. My library doesn’t carry this book & it’s been on my wish list for a long time.

  71. Amy Burke

    I would love to try this cookbook.

  72. brigitte

    Looks good! I started a personal project of buying $10 worth of food for the food bank each week this year. Makes the grocery budget a bit tighter. So I’m always looking for tips.

  73. Ohhh a new blog to add to my feed reader, which is where I read this post!

  74. I’m also a facebook ‘liker’ of Surviving and Thriving ๐Ÿ˜‰

  75. I subscribe via email.

  76. I have a son starting graduate school soon and he could benefit from some easy healthful recipes. He will need to keep a tighter budget.

  77. This sounds wonderful – would love to win it and cook frugally from it!

  78. Debra Beeuwsaert

    I’m a cookbook addict, and this would add nicely to my collection. I also like to learn more on budgeting, frugalness, etc.

  79. Cathy in NJ

    The book sounds yummy:)

  80. Samantha

    I love that blog – I just recently found it. I also love cookbooks!

  81. Samantha

    I subscribe via email.

  82. Samantha

    I follow you on Twitter.

  83. Samantha

    I like you on Facebook.

  84. Meghann

    I am always looking for cheaper yet still healthy meals. I am on a mission to pay off student loans as well. I’m afraid to take on any additional monthly payments (like a mortgage) until they are paid off. But I am soooo ready to own my own place!

  85. this sounds like a great resource

  86. I follow on Facebook

  87. I follow on twitter @oshkoshbgosh321

  88. Carolsue

    I could certainly make use of this cookbook! I’d love to add it to my collection!

  89. Carolsue

    I subscribe to your newsletter via e-mail.
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  90. Carolsue

    I like you on Facebook as Carolsue Anderson

  91. Would love to check this book out…sounds awesome!

  92. cadence

    I love her blog! I have been meaning to buy a copy–this will serve as a good reminder ( in case I don’t win!)!

  93. VictoriaN

    What a great giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to win this cookbook.

  94. VictoriaN

    I am subscribed to your email updates.

  95. VictoriaN

    I follow you on Facebook.

  96. I love the idea of delicious and frugal – great combination.

  97. I just left a comment on your latest contest blog.

  98. I follow you on FaceBook.

  99. I also subscribe to your newsletter via email.

  100. Mirabella

    Enter me please! Hope I made it in time.

  101. I love the Budget Bytes blog! And I think I squeaked this comment in just under the wire. ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Weekly Chronicles: Easter Edition - […] to win a copy of Budget Bytes (cookbook) at Surviving and Thriving.ย  Entries close Tuesday […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *