Meal Planning To Save Money

by Web_codes

meals

You come home, look in the refrigerator and find there is nothing to eat. Rather than spending time and figuring out what to cook, you find it is much easier to go back out and buy something to eat. Not only is buying fast food and take out more expensive, it is not healthy. By meal planning, you can structure you weekly, or even monthly, meals ahead of time so you will always know what you are going to be cooking, and will always have something to eat. Here are benefits of meal planning and how to get started.

Meal Planning Saves Money

One of the biggest benefits of planning meals is the savings. By planning meals, you will only buy what you need at the supermarket. No more buying unnecessary ingredients that never get used and eventually get thrown out. By planning your menu, you can also cut down on trips to the store. You will not have to run out and purchase a forgotten ingredient last minute when you have planned ahead. Also, shopping with a list in hand reduces impulse buys which saves even more money.

Meal Planning Saves Time

It may seem time consuming to sit down and plan your meals, but meal planning actually saves you time in the long run. You will need to commit time just once a week to figuring out what you want to cook, but you will never need to spend time thinking of what to make last minute. Also, since you have planned the food, you should already have all the ingredients necessary and will not have to bother running to the market before going home to cook.

Meal Planning Helps You Eat Better

In addition to saving you time and money, planning your meals can help your family eat healthier. When you do not have anything for dinner and you do not know what to cook, the easy thing is to run out and grab fast food. Fast food it costly and unhealthy, especially when eaten often. When you have your menu planned, you are more likely to have a home cooked meal each day.

How to Start Meal Planning

To start meal planning, make a list of your family’s favorite meals. This will give you a good basis for dishes to cook. You can choose to add a new dish or two weekly so that you are not always recycling the same ones. You may want to make a binder with your favorite recipes so they will all be in the same place.

Next check your pantry, cupboards and freezer for what you already have. Even though you have thought that you have nothing to cook before, you may find you have enough ingredients to come up with something delicious. You will also use your inventory list to help you shop for the rest of the ingredients for the week.

Check your weekly market ads. You can find them in the newspapers or online. Search through them for items on sale (or that have coupons) that you can be used in your family’s favorite meals. Start making a list of meals that you can make for the week using things that are on sale and what you already have. You should have one meal for each day you typically cook. You can also choose to reserve one day to eat just leftovers, eat out or have everyone fend for themselves if you wish.

By using your list of recipes, make a list of items you need to purchase from the grocery stores. You can choose to make your list from just one store, or from more than one to get the best prices and save even more money. If you can find some of these ingredients online, make sure you use our coupon codes to pile on the savings at checkout.

You can take it a step further and search in newspapers for coupons to go along with the items you need to purchase. There are many coupon data bases online that you can search for coupons by brand name.

Once you have your meals planned and your groceries bought, you can start cooking. You may want to do one meal a day, or cook them all at once and freeze a few. The method you choose will depend on the amount of time you have each day to cook and what works best for you.

Meal planning can save you valuable time and money. By taking stock of what you already have and shopping sales, you can start planning your weekly meals to make sure that you always know what is for dinner.

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