Meal planning has a host of benefits, one of the most useful is that meal planning saves you money. Read on to see how you can do it yourself.
If I haven’t convinced you to meal plan or meal prep for any other reason, maybe you’re one of those people who can be convinced with money.
Meal planning saves you money
Dave Ramsey says it, so it must be true.
I’m sure most of you probably know this deep down inside, but maybe you don’t know how to get started.
Or maybe you’ve just never seen it first-hand so you aren’t sure it’s worth it.
So in this post I’m sharing the ways meal planning saves you money
I’m also some warnings of roadblocks you might run into when you first get started.
Lastly, I’ll share some tips for actually saving money with meal planning (because it’s not necessarily as easy as just starting a meal plan and calling it a day.)
This is a truly comprehensive guide so buckle-up because first up are the 10 ways meal planning saves you money.
10 ways meal planning saves you money
You can take better advantage of sales– Meal planning allows you to buy around what’s on sale. BONUS: If you’re a meal prepper you can even stock up on what’s on sale and store it in your freezer. Even most produce can be frozen. See my freezer guide here.
You can go to the store just once-I don’t know about you, but every extra store run I spend $30-$40. Even if I just need one quick thing. Don’t fall into the trap. Plan well and go to the store just once per week.
You stop impulse buying-If you have kids, you are familiar with panic snack buying. Nothing is worse than toddler “hanger” but with a solid meal plan, you’ll know you’re covered and leave the expensive snacks on the shelf.
You actually use up your produce-Don’t buy produce without a plan! If you do have extra, freeze it at the end of the week before it goes bad for another day.
You start learning to use ALL of the things you purchase-Have extras from the week before? Awesome, this is the perfect place to get a jumpstart on planning AND a way to save money at the store. Gotta love a win-win
You stop grabbing takeout-Cause takeout is expensive. I still have planned takeout runs, but so rarely grab a pizza because we have nothing to eat at home or i’m too tired to cook. It’s a great feeling!
No need for expensive convenience foods– In the same way that you stop impulse buying, you’ll also learn to make homemade versions of your favorite convenience foods.
It helps you stick to a budget– We splurge for salmon every once in a while, but because I meal plan I know how much I can expect to spend every week and it’s relatively stable. If we’re running low on cash I know the less expensive meals to add to the menu.
It helps you stretch out meat purchases– I love to meal prep meat and toss it into dishes that use more veggies, rice, or pasta to make my meat stretch. Meal planning and meal prep makes this do-able.
Meal Planning helps you actually use your leftovers- No longer do you put your leftovers in the fridge to rot. No-no, they are labelled, and planned for. If you’ve got lots, put them in the freezer and make a whole ‘nuther meal out of em!
Warnings about using meal planning to save money
At first it might not seem like you are saving.
This is normal. Here’s 2 Reasons why. Consider these, and be patient. You’re sure to see savings within a few months, but may not right away.
- If you haven’t been cooking regularly, you’ll need to purchase a lot of staples. Items like spices and vinegars that last a long time, but can be pricy right at first.
- You aren’t tracking your restaurant purchases and grocery purchases together. Your grocery bill may go up, but if your takeout bill goes out you might be saving in the long run.
Lastly, even if you’re not saving (but trust me, you will) remember that you may be saving years of year life.
I’m not trying to be dramatic, and this is not a post about health.
But we all know that cooking at home is one of the fastest ways to better health, so it’s worth it even if you don’t see those savings tomorrow. Stick to it, feel better, and eventually save more!
How to use meal planning to save money
- Make a budget! -If you don’t have a budget, you won’t save. Period. Start by seeing how much you usually spend and you can cut it down a little (let’s say 10%) You can start playing with how much you save!
- Stay Organized-If the food’s in the freezer, but doesn’t get eaten, has it done any good? Make a plan for leftovers
- Use an inventory system– Lucky for you, this is the easiest way to stay organized.
- Schedule a time for meal planning and meal prep– Even if you do it once, it will only help so much. Schedule it and make it a happen
- Clean out your fridge weekly-Catch all the little bits of things and use them up before they go bad.
What do you think? Are you up for the challenge to save money with meal planning? I say you make it a fun goal and use the extra to buy something fun (just don’t tell your spouses I suggested that!)
Have you noticed that you save money when you cook more? I’d love to hear about it! Let me know below!