Use Meal Planning To Help You Save Money

mealprep

My love for going out is often hampered by my budgeting tendencies. While I might want to take the kids to see a movie or buy this really fabulous blouse that I saw while window shopping last week, internally I’m already considering our budget and how much we have for extras at the end of each month. Could we afford both the movie trip and the blouse or one or the other? Sure, we could but I’m just too budget conscious to do it. Back when I was a single gal I could spend the money without a second thought but now as a wife and mother, it’s a little harder not to feel guilty about little extravagances here and there.

Since I am quite the budget queen these days, I’m always searching around for different ways to save on a budget. This is something I’m sure all of my readers know by now and I hope that each week I can impart little bits of wisdom on readers both old and new so that they might also enjoy the benefits of budgeting. When I sat down to write this weeks budgeting post, I was honestly at a loss, so, I got up and went off in search for a snack. Finding nothing in the fridge that sounded appealing and even less in the pantry, I decided to check my freezer just in case there was a popsicle or ice cream in there that my little ones had yet to claim. Yeah, it was a long shot but I checked anyways.

Although I didn’t find my desired snack while hunting around in the freezer, I did find my stash of ready to cook meals that I’d previously prepared and threw in there for the nights that I was fresh out of ideas or short on time. Seeing these pre-packaged meals that I’d prepared, it was like having a light bulb go off in my head. I love making menu plans and throwing meals together in advance but my favorite part, aside from how easy it is, is how budget friendly meal prep actually is. Believe it or not, preparing meals ahead of time is a great way to save money on a budget. I’d love to share my meal prep tips with my readers, so, if you didn’t have any knowledge out it previously then you might be able to really save some money with my tips.

  1. Doing meal prep can be a lot of work but it can also be a lot of fun too. I like to do all of my shopping for meals in my pantry/fridge or freezer before ever going to the grocery store and having to spend more money. Often times you can already make plenty of meals out of what you already have on hand.
  2. Make a list with all of your recipes. This will ensure that you only buy exactly what you need for each recipe and don’t overbuy or grab anything you don’t actually need for each meal you’re shopping for.
  3. Look at the sales fliers at your local grocery stores before making your menu each week. This way you can find out which foods are on sale for the best price and then plan your menu around the sales.
  4. Don’t be afraid of having leftovers. Sometimes you might not eat everything you prepare the night before and that’s ok. There’s no harm in reheating leftovers the next night or even a few nights down the line when you’re short on time or just plan don’t feel like cooking one night.
  5. Say no to pre-packaged and processed foods. This might sound silly but pre-packaged food is way more expensive than buying the ingredients you need to do it yourself. Especially if you’re doing meal prep, this is important. If you need fresh veggies chopped or hamburgers made into patties to freeze, it’s always more budget friendly to buy the veggies fresh and chop them up and to pat out your own beef patties ahead of time rather than buying everything pre-made. Pre-packaged foods are made in large part for their convenience factor and you’re paying a higher price for the convenience. Make sense? Whenever possible, buy the ingredients you need fresh and do the prepping yourself, especially if you’re looking to use the ingredients for preparing meals for the week.
Like I mentioned above, meal prep can be a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun once you get the hang of it. It also has the potential to save you quite a pretty penny at the grocery store if you follow the simple steps that I use when doing my own meal prep. If you’re on a budget or are just looking to save some money here and there then I definitely recommend trying your hand at doing meal prep for a week or two.