The second most common reason I hear for wanting to meal prep is to save money on food. According to CreditDonkey, families spend 6% of their annual budget on food. This is all about how to eat healthier on a budget.
Food is one of those necessities in life, going out to eat a common luxury that adds up fast! With the cost of food seemingly always on the rise, it’s understandable to see why people want to save money on food.
I’ve amassed a list of tips that can help soften that grocery/food budget line item! Even incorporating some of these ideas can help you save some money.
The number one step in meal prep is to meal plan. If you can plan your families meals each week and stick to that plan, you can curb some of those last minute out to eats. When you plan your meals, you can create a very specific shopping list. Keeping to that list will allow you to forgo those spur of the moment purchases as well as keep you from making multiple trips to the grocery store each week.
Don’t Shop Hungry
Avoiding those last minute grabs at the store is difficult enough without sabotaging yourself out of the gate. If you go shopping hungry, there’s an excellent chance you will spend more money buying unnecessary items.
Double Some Recipes
Many times, you don’t use all of the ingredients in a recipe. If you double some freezer friendly recipes, you can freeze one for later. This can happen often without spending more money on ingredients! If you are not keep on freezing meals, you can always double a recipe and use the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Look At Cheaper Cuts of Meat
Less expensive cuts of meat, such as shank, chuck roast, pork shoulder and beef brisket are just a few that are available for cheaper than other cuts of meat. These are excellent to use in braises and stews – a fabulous item for the slow cooker. Throw everything in, let it cook slow over the course of the day. You get much more for you dollar with these cuts of meat.
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is an easy way to save money, and not just at a warehouse store. This post discusses all the tips of shopping the bulk section of the grocery store. In short though, buying in bulk can save you money because you are getting only what you need. Not only are you only buying what you need, the prices of bulk items are usually less expensive.
Find Your Green Thumb
I include this with some hesitation. The cost of starting a garden can get out of hand QUICK, and yes, I have learned this the hard way, from lots of experience! By the time I built the boxes, bought the soil, bout the plants and seeds, it CAN add up. With that being said, once you have your garden set up, you can definitely save money on produce when you have your own garden. In fact you can be the popular neighbor if you garden is successful and you are handing out tomatoes to anyone who will take them!
Find A Farmer’s Market
I’ve talked about the best way to shop a farmer’s market in this post, but if you’re looking to save money, shopping at the end of the market day can be golden for finding great deals. Many farmers don’t want to take their produce back home, and they’ll offer up $5 bag deals, or drastically cut the price for what’s remaining. Your selection might not be as vast as early in the morning, but you can still find some great produce, in season, for cheap!
I’ve been hard pressed to find a store brand of an item that I don’t like, especially when it comes to frozen fruit and vegetables or canned goods. Generic brands are often manufactured by the big name companies giving you the same items for less.
Overall, it’s all about finding one or two things to try, see if you can handle the small change, and adding in another one or two tips a few weeks down the road. Although each suggestion might only save you a couple of bucks, over time embracing several new changes will save you even more money. Sometimes it is small steps that can lead to big savings!
You can find more detailed and in depth ideas on meal prep in my new ebook, Meal Prep Made Easy (click here to go to the shopping cart).