Meal planning and food prep often feel overly complicated, but that doesn’t have to be the case, especially if your goal is simply to cut down on your weekly grocery bill.
With the rising cost of food (which has gone up nearly 10% in the past 12 months), now is a great time to reconsider how you’re spending on groceries.
The concept behind meal planning is simple: You plan out meals for a week or so, then prepare some or all the food you’re going to eat during that time. If spending your Sunday night chopping veggies isn’t your thing, not to worry. You can still use this guide to help you cut your grocery spending without becoming a super-dee-duper meal prepper.
But you don’t have to plan and prep every meal of the week, but if you at least have a game plan, you’ll avoid the temptation of takeout and drive-thru. Spend 30 minutes twice a week planning meals. Sundays and Wednesdays are good because those are often the days new coupons are released and grocery stores start their weekly sales. And that’s another way to incorporate some savings into your food budget.
10 Meal Planning Tips That Will Save Your Food Budget
- Watch sales
- Shop seasonally
- Shop for specific recipes
- Purchase versatile ingredients
- Consider store brands
- Get your spices from bulk stores
- Eat the same thing for breakfast everyday
- Prepare entrees that do double duty
- Limit your snacks
- Skip the special containers
The key to budget-friendly meal prep is making it work with what you already do. What do you and your family enjoy eating? Can you make a double batch of a favorite recipe and save the rest for lunches? What are some ingredients you can buy in bulk (even if that means mooching off of a friend’s grocery club membership)?
Answering those questions will help you get your meal prep off on the money-saving foot, but following a few other guidelines will help keep your weekly meal prep easy and cheap.
1. Watch Sales
This might sound obvious, but shopping sales…