Are food expenses burning a hole in your pocket? If so, meal planning to your rescue!
Meal planning is so great because it helps you save hundreds of dollars per year. Additionally, it helps you save a lot of time and effort. In fact, with some practice, you’ll be able to prepare quickly and without stress.
Imagine creating the whole week’s worth of food by spending no more than two hours in the kitchen on Sunday! Sounds good, right?
Today, I’m going to give you a few simple tips and tools to help you plan meals on a budget.
For best results, you need to create a weekly as well as a monthly meal plan.
Wait for a second!
I know what you’re probably thinking. This sounds so complicated.
Trust me, it’s not! Start by creating a general meal plan for the entire month before you plan your weekly meal. This will make the whole process a lot easier.
What I like to do is take my printables and first jot down all the dishes I like to eat or would like to try the following month. Once done, I re-arrange all the meals into my weekly printables. I recommend skipping all those days when you know you’ll be eating out. For instance, circle those days in your printables when you have a birthday party to attend or when you’ll be hanging out with your friends.
This will not only give you a clear idea of how many meals to make on the weekend but also help you buy groceries accordingly.
Opt for recipes that are cheap but high on nutrition. For instance, eggs are extremely healthy and an excellent source of protein. Plus, they’re highly versatile. A carton of eggs will result in a number of dishes such as egg salad, egg sandwich, egg noodles, etc.
Once you have a solid meal plan in place, make a list of groceries you need for the week.
Take into account all the items you already have lying around in your refrigerator or pantry before finalizing your list.
At the store, opt for generic brands. They usually offer the same quality but are a lot cheaper than premium brands.
You can also check out the sales aisle first in order to get the best of the deals.
Another great way to save big on groceries is to redeem coupons, sign up for loyalty programs and purchase different items from different specialty stores.
Keep Your Meal Plan in Place
The key to success is to keep your weekly plan in plain sight.
The last thing you want to do on the weekend is to turn your apartment upside down to search for your meal plan.
I suggest sticking your meal plan to your refrigerator. Believe me, it will make cooking a breeze and help you stick to your meal plan.
When it’s finally the time to cook, whip out your apron and start cooking the meals you planned. Cha-ching! I can already hear the savings!
Meat is one of the most expensive food items on your grocery bill.
Cutting down your meat intake altogether or at least once a week will help you save a huge chunk of money.
Canned fish, peanut butter, tofu, eggs, legumes are great (and cheaper) alternatives to meat.