Meal Planning

Meal Planning

I can’t say enough about this.  This is a two-fold way to save money. Maybe even three-fold.

First, if you plan your meals for the week, you can incorporate more healthy options through planning.  Try to incorporate just one vegetarian meal per week.  Vegetables per pound are much more economical than meat, and contrary to many beliefs, you can get almost all the necessary nutrients from vegetables as you can meat.  Vegetables have protein and Vitamin D.  At one vegetarian meal a week, you can easily save $5-10 on your budget.  That’s $520 a year.

When you plan meals, and you go to the grocery store just after eating a meal, you aren’t as likely to stray from your grocery list.  I can easily spend $10-20 more per week just by going to the store hungry.  BIG MISTAKE! (And yes, I still do it occasionally.)  See…there’s another $520 a year just waiting to be saved.

I also like to try and come up with either one crockpot meal or a casserole I can make on Sunday and we can eat Monday and Wednesday.  Or every few weeks on a weekend, I will double up on my meal preparation.  I will cook more meals each day and cook larger quantities.  I use part of the prepped meals to get us through the week and I will also create frozen dinners that only need warmed and possibly a vegetable added as a side.  It saves tons of time during the week (and takes a lot of stress away) and you can also save money by buying larger quantities of foods.  Meats particularly are $0.20-0.50/lb cheaper when bought in family size quantities.

Finally, by planning meals, you can coordinate your trip to be the most efficient use of your grocery dollars and time.  More on that on “Grocery Shopping Saving”.  See, there’s $1,040 per year just waiting for you (give or take a few bucks).  Now, if you track it and can quantify the savings, just do an automatic transfer to the savings account for the money saved.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Please send me your ideas or comments on this topic.  I’ll share them and keep you anonymous if that is what you would prefer.  I’d also like some great recipes for us to share.

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