Plan To Save
Can you really save thousands of dollars by simply planning your meals? Absolutely, and the reason for this is food waste. It is estimated that, as Americans, we waste 30 percent of our food.
Consider how much you spend on groceries every month. If you are a family with a couple kids, you probably spend about 200 dollars a week on groceries, maybe more. That is over 10,000 dollars a year. If you are like most Americans, wasting at least 30 percent of what you buy, that is 3000 dollars a year in food waste.
That is a substantial amount of money, so why not look at a way to cut out most, if not all of this loss.
Start Meal Planning
Obviously, there is a lot of money to save, so how do we go about keeping this money in our pocket? You simply need to start planning out your meals, every one of them, including snacks. Don’t worry, it is not as hard as you might think.
The first thing that you need to do is sit down and write out a list of meals for the week. Do this the morning before you go grocery shopping and make sure that you include everything that you will eat over the course of the next week. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks.
Once you have your list of meals, you will need to write down every ingredient that you need to make these meals. It helps to have recipe cards for all of the meals that you make. This ensures that you will not miss out on any of the ingredients, and that you are thorough.
Now that you have your list, take it and mark off anything that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator. No use buying anything that you already have. When you are done, you have your official grocery shopping list.
All that is left to do is shop for your groceries and cook your meals over the course of the week. Pretty simple way to save a few thousand dollars isn’t it.
Benefits Of Meal Planning
Now that you see how simple meal planning is, let’s take a look at all of the advantages.
Obviously, you can save a lot of money by planning your meals. If you are struggling to make ends meet, you need this 3000 dollars in your pocket. It can do a lot to stabilize your finances.
Another benefit that you might not think about is the time savings. How much of your week do you spend trying to figure out what to make for lunch or dinner? How many small trips do you have to make to the store in order to pick up last minute items? Meal planning will save you this time, which can add up to many extra hours a week. Time that you can probably put to good use.
As a meal planner, you also will cut much of the stress out of your week. Having a plan to follow will make your week go by that much easier. Think about your meals once and then simply follow the plan.
Maximizing Your Food Savings
If you are going to do something, you might as well go all the way. By simply making an effort to plan your meals, you will save money, but why not save as much as possible. Here are some ways to save the most with meal planning.
Use Curbside Pickup
If you pay close attention to a grocery store, you will realize that everything is where it is for a reason. Grocers place everything strategically to get you to spend as much money as possible. The end caps are stocked with candy or toys, the fancy name brand products are in easy reach, etc, etc. Everything is stacked against you.
Avoid the temptations of the grocery store by simply using curbside pickup. Nearly every grocer offers this service now, because they have to in order to compete, they do not want to. Use your online ordering to get exactly what you need with none of the little extras that grocery stores like to push on you. It is much easier to ignore a pop up than it is to bypass an end-cap of toys with a child in tow.
Buy Door Busters
Every week, your grocery store will have a few products that they sell very cheap or even for a loss. They do this to get you in the door, so that you can buy more expensive items.
When planning your meals, shop the grocery store circulars first and see what is on sale. Then, plan your meals around these foods to realize even more savings.
Replace Name Brands With Generics
Many, if not most of the name brand foods that you buy are made in the same factories where generics are made. The only real difference is the fancy packaging.
Save even more money by replacing the name brand items that you already buy with generics. Generics can save a typical family as much as 500 dollars more per year with minimal impact on meal quality.
Work With Food You Have
Meal planning is all about cutting food waste, so it makes sense to start your meal planning with what you have. Before you plan your meals, take a look in the freezer and in the back of the pantry. Use up all of these food items before you buy new and maximize your savings. If you have trouble finding meals to cook with the food you have, turn to the internet. You have thousands of recipes at your fingertips.