How to Save Money by Planning Your Meals

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How many times a week do you end up just getting take-out because you have “nothing” to eat at home? Did you know that by planning your meals each week you can avoid that problem? Plus, you might just save a lot of money along the way.

Here is our quick guide to get started:

Make a Meal Chart

Plan out what you’re going to eat every day ahead of time. It’s important to take stock of your lifestyle when planning your meals. Be realistic about how much time each day you’ll have to prepare meals. If you’re a little short on time, look for 15 to 30-minute recipes, or meals that can be made ahead of time and reheated. Then, make a chart and put it on your refrigerator or your phone. That way, you’ll know what you have planned each day, and you will be more likely to stick to it. Plus, it will help you with buying the right amount of groceries for the week, and you might find that you can choose healthier options when you plan ahead.

Check Out the Sales

After planning what recipes to use for the week, check out your local ads to see the sales available at your local grocery store. Clip or print any coupons that are relevant to your meals. If you don’t have a coupon, stay away from brand names, and look to see if plain-label substitutes are a better deal. It’s also a good idea to purchase pantry staples that you can use for multiple meals.

Look In Your Pantry First

When planning your weekly meals, make sure you check out what you already have in your pantry – before you go to the grocery store. You don’t want to end up thinking you have no eggs and stocking up only to find that you did that last time you went to the grocery store. You might consider using apps, such as Out of Milk or Chefling, to help you keep stock of food in your home. Some of these apps can even track expiration dates, so you don’t end up with sour milk when you go to pour a bowl of cereal.

Make Your List and Stick to It

Once you’ve outlined your meal plan and know what you have at home and what’s on sale, make your grocery list. While you might have a mental list, it’s a great idea to write it down, so you don’t forget any items or add things to your cart on a whim once you’re in the store. Then, stick to your list when you go grocery shopping. Another great tip is to make sure you don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry, you’ll end up spending way more than necessary.

While meal planning may take a little more time at first, you’ll begin to see the difference in your budget right away. Not only will you save money, but usually, you’ll start to feel better because you are eating better on a daily basis.