When planning a cooking class on a shoestring budget, there are several things you can do to save money. Your frugal cooking class can still have a big impact that doesn’t look as though it was done on a tight budget.

Frugal Cook Class Shopping Tips

Before you spend any money, get quotes from suppliers for any extra equipment students will need. Shop around for the best prices for cooking supplies, food and ingredients. A shopping list will help you stay on budget. Be strict and only shop for the items on your list.

  • Ask about discounts, bulk buying and specials.
  • Shop close-outs and sale items.
  • Discuss regular deliveries and discounts with local growers. Growers often give discounts for repeat clients they can depend on week after week.
  • In-season foodstuff are usually cheaper since many times there is an abundance of produce.
  • Time shopping trips for produce when growers will be looking to get rid of surplus by offering discounts.

Cut Operating Costs

Business owners are always seeking ways to reduce their operating costs. There are several things you can do to lower operating costs.

Take Advantage of Invoice Terms Savings

Many suppliers offer 2/10 or 2/15 term on invoices. This means you receive a 2% discount if you pay the invoice within 10 days or 15 days of invoice date. This can be a significant savings over time.

Other terms offered include n/30 (net 30 days) or n/10 EOM (the invoice payable 10 days after the end of the month of the sale).

If you can’t pay early, at the least pay within the allotted 30 days or 10 days after the end of the month to avoid penalties for late payments.

Pay in Advance and Cash Discounts

Some suppliers offer a steeper discount when you pay in advance. This can be helpful to both you and the supplier, since you reap the discount and the supplier reaps a guaranteed sale.

Another way to save money is to take advantage of cash discounts. For this type of transaction, the seller requires payment in cash. Be sure you get a receipt for your record keeping.

Processes and Procedure Review

Another way to reduce your operating costs is to review your procedures and processes in all facets of your business. Ask yourself a few questions, such as:

  • Do you have unnecessary waste in your classes?
  • Can you reduce the amount of supplies in your class?
  • Do you have good control over portion sizes?
  • Is there unnecessary spoilage?
  • Can certain foodstuffs be vacuum sealed to extend shelf life?
  • Is there a cheaper generic brand that is just as good as the one(s) you’re currently using?
  • Are there tools you can substitute with something cheaper but just as effective to use?
  • Can you change the time of your class to when utility rates are cheaper?

Enlist Volunteers

There may be some things that you can eliminate in your processes, such as reassigning kitchen duties to class volunteers. For example, instead of having employees do the prep work, you can ask for volunteers or incorporate some of the duties as part of the teaching process for students.

Simple things, such as washing lettuce, setting out utensils and other supplies and even clean up can help to defray some of your overall operating expenses in the long run.

Streamline Marketing Expenses

If you have a marketing budget, review your expenditures over the last quarter and compare to the previous quarters. Run an analysis of how effective your current marketing plan is and see if there are any areas that need revamping.

Research and investigate ways you can get free advertising, such as a human interest feature in your local paper or related website. Run a social media campaign and use solid marketing metrics to assess success.

Reciprocity Marketing Can Save Money

Even if your shoestring budget isn’t stretched to the breaking point, reciprocity marketing can save quite a bit of money and build good will. It can also assist you in reaching new markets without the additional marketing expense.

Invite a related business owner as a guest blogger, guest in your weekly podcast or interview them for a short post on your blog. Most people offer a reciprocal opportunity to you on their blog or podcast. This type of is free and a good business tool for both parties.

Cut Costs Not Corners

Frugal cooking classes mean you need to be creative in finding ways to save money. Be sure you don’t sacrifice quality that will harm your brand. Soon saving money will be second nature as you find new ways to pay less.