Hi, I’m Steph.

In 2008, at just 19 and 20 years old, my new husband Chris and I sat in our tiny studio apartment (actually, it was a renovated shed in a backyard), hovering over our very first budget. It was a little terrifying. After paying our bare minimum expenses, we had just $25 left for our grocery budget every week.

That included eating out, but who are we kidding.

We could have lived off Ramen and white bread sandwiches, but I had grown up on a small farm, where we raised chickens, dairy goats, sheep, and grew a huge organic garden. As a result, I came into this new budget knowing the importance of good food and how much better we felt when we ate well.

While I couldn’t do everything I wanted to with $25/week, I knew I could use that money to help us eat as clean as possible while still being realistic.

For nearly 15 years, I’ve been saving money and eating healthy. It is my passion, and I want to help you. You can eat well no matter how small your budget. All it takes is the right tools and a little grit.

You provide the grit, and I’ll provide the tools.


Every recipe on Cheapskate Cook is made with simple ingredients on a budget – from Breakfast and Dinner to Healthier Desserts and Make-It-Yourself (like bread, dips, and yogurt).

Menu Planning & Grocery Shopping

Our tips and strategies are designed to help you save money and eat healthy no matter where you live or the size of your budget.

Food Allergies on a Budget

We dealt with food allergies and sensitivities on a tight budget for a long time. As a result, we use a lot of delicious, simple recipes that easily avoid the more common allergens.

Eat Real Food on a Budget.

Sounds impossible, right? It’s not. I can show you how to save money and eat healthy no matter the size of your budget.

Cheapskate Cook exists to help you save money and eat healthy. We share tools and recipes to maximize your dollars and time while eating food that’s good for your body, your community, and our planet.

At Cheapskate Cook, you will find 3 things:

  1. Frugal recipes that use whole, natural ingredients
  2. Tips and strategies that help you save the most money while eating real food
  3. Allergy-friendly and special diet recipes that don’t break the bank –  including gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, and vegan

If you’re new here, go to our Start Here page and start downloading tools!

Connection & Community

For more ways to save money and eat healthy, let’s connect!


Subscribe here for day-in-the-life style videos, grocery hauls, and recipe demonstrations!


Follow me here for daily inspiration. I share daily hacks, tips, recipes, frugal living, and real-life fun.


Like Instagram, but totally different, right?


Like my Page here and connect with real-life people who are trying to save money and eat healthy.

See What They're Saying:

“Stephani does such a fantastic job of teaching people how to live and eat well on a tight budget. I am constantly recommending her site to others who are looking for encouragement in how to feed their family healthfully and do it without breaking the bank or spending all day in the kitchen!”

Crystal Paine

Founder, MoneySavingMom.com

“Eating healthy on a budget has never been easier!”

Deborah Reynaa

Photographer, DeborahReynaa.com

“I love Cheapskate Cook! She’s helpful and practical, but so down-to-earth and fun!!”

Courtney Kimball


“Stephani is one of the only Instagram Stories I take time to watch because she’s so knowledgeable and down-to-earth. Her work is always incredibly professional and I remain in awe at how she keeps such a small budget and raises kids committed to eating healthy food, too!”

Katie Kimball

Founder, KitchenStewardship.com and KidsCookRealFood.com

“I love the simplicity of Cheapskate Cook. Every recipe I’ve tried is amazing!”



“Steph has the most helpful information about cooking, planning, gardening, and more!”



“Steph is one of the most relatable real food advocates I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. She teaches and encourages in a way that’s both accessible and enthusiastic, which I find totally contagious!”

Beth Ricci

Founder, RedAndHoney.com

“I love how Steph doesn’t over-complicate frugal and healthy living. I love learning from her!”


Reader, THM Coach

“Steph shares so many simple and cheap tips and tricks in all things real food and natural living! She has helped me over the years to keep spending lower and keep my family’s health a priority.”

Elizabeth Haarsma


Steph at the fridge holding some food

More about Stephani:

I’m an experienced, frugal, domestic ninja, lover of all things food, nutrition, fitness, nerd culture, faith, and family. Not always in that order.

Most of my life I just liked food and trying to eat well. My goal is to eat healthy, whole food, preferably local and sustainably sourced – with a healthy dose of Oreos and Cheetos, because it’s all about balance, and none of us eats perfectly. What I learn about saving money and eating healthy, I share here, trying to be the resource I so desperately wanted over the years.

Chris and I have a really weird love story, and I shared it at length on Instagram at #chrisandstephlovestory and it was published by Love What Matters.

Now, we have 3 wild, amazing boys, and after living for years in tiny apartments and shared housing, we recently moved to our farmhouse fixer-upper (like, woodstove heat level fixer-upper) that we’re renovating with cash.

10 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I used to live in West Africa.
  2. I used to raise, breed, and milk dairy goats (not in West Africa).
  3. My extended family represents Greek, Jewish, African American, Hispanic, and Italian cultures. I’m fiercely dedicated to diversity and anti-racism.
  4. Chris and I got married at ages 19 and 20. A great – albeit risky – decision. Read more here.
  5. I am a die-hard nerd. Ask me anything about Marvel, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or classic literature.
  6. Chris’ family is Greek, so after we got married, we lived for awhile with his extended family in the hill village his family came from.
  7. 10 years later, we were finally able to bring our kids to the same village.
  8. I was homeschooled, so homeschooling our kids was a natural decision (although to be honest some days I don’t love it).
  9. I love gardening and have grown our own food at every house.
  10. I had 2 home births and 3 natural deliveries. If I do a fourth, I might go with drugs – because no one needs to climb Mount Everest 4 times, right?
Jenkins family

Let’s Start Now!

Are you ready to eat real food on a budget? No matter the size of your budget, you can save money and eat healthy!