5 Meal Planning Tips That Can Save You $50 A Week
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I grit my teeth as the cashier passes the items for my bi-weekly meal planning list over the scanner. I can’t see the total but for a family of three who eat healthy and meal plan, it has to be a couple hundred dollars.
Simply Nature organic pasta, canned black beans and fruit strips. A preservative and hormone-free whole chicken (seven dollars and change), a couple of pounds of organic grass-fed beef, an organic turkey roast. Juice boxes, cheese sticks, milk and eggs. A trip through the snack, frozen and fresh produce aisle landed me at checkout. The total for my bi-weekly grocery haul: $220.00. (That’s $110.00 a week!)
So do you think that’s expensive for mostly organic products for a family of three to eat for two weeks?
In fact, I’m proud of being frugal, organized and able to feed my family mostly organic foods. If you’re wondering how I managed this skilled undertaking here are five tips to help you get started meal planning to save you $50 a week.
#1: Buy Only What You Need
It’s a cinch to run to the store with no list and an invisible list of items that are only a thought in your head.
That is where you run into trouble.
You forget things you need and you buy more than you wanted. (That dusty can of pinto beans in the back of your cabinet is never going to get used and you know it). Plan your meals for an entire week (or go bananas and make it month) and write them down. Make a schedule and throw it up on the refrigerator to remind you of your meal plan. Make a grocery list of those items and stick to the plan Fran!
#2 Food Waste
This could be included in tip #1 but the importance of this tip deserves to ride solo. Fresh produce, dairy products, and other perishable items rot quickly. They aren’t cheap either. Cutting down on waste can save you the most money every week. (Plus, it will save you from being a hypocrite when you demand that your son eat his food because there are starving children in [insert country of choice] would love to have that food.) Write down the exact quantity of perishable items you need and don’t buy extra. Starving children in that country you mentioned in your guilt trip will be jumping for joy at your waste conscious shopping plan.
#3 Bulk Cooking Is Cost Efficient
Want to simplify you meal plan? Make meals in bulk. Buying bulk beans, lentils and pasta lowers the total per pound. It also allows you to make larger portions for each meal and of course that means left overs! Why not make a double batch of chili or soup and freeze it for a dinner next week? It would be an awesome feeling to pull out that food saver bag with a dinner that can be made in minutes! This is the trifecta of tips because it reduces waste, saves money and saves time!
#4 Multiple Trips To Store…You Are Paying More
When you are top of your meal planning game you get all the items on your list at once. No more running to the store every day to get items you need to prepare that last-minute dinner idea. Not only are you saving money because of tips 1, 2 and 3, but you are saving on gas too. With gas being over $2.00 a gallon and the popularity of SUVs those extra trips can really add up. If you own and electric or hybrid I’m jealous, but I like my mommy taxi on the larger side.
#5 Fast Food Is A Fast Way To Go Broke
Meal planning for the week gives you stability. Instead of throwing up your arms and running to the local fast food restaurant or ordering a pizza you have ideas, ingredients and a meal plan schedule (and maybe frozen meals). That fast food or pizza run can cost you between $30 to $50 for just one meal! That right there should make you want to meal plan every darn week. Sweeten the deal with the fact those foods are overly processed and disgusting. Stick to the meal plan and you may even lose a few pounds too.
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