Meal Planning on a Budget

The beginning of a new year is a great time to change up your diet in a way that fits your budget. Meal planning is popular among those who desire to eat healthy while maintaining a healthy budget. While there are many resources available for recipes, we have a few tips on how to make the most of your meal planning options.

Plan your shopping trips and meals in advance.
Take some time to look at the grocery store circulars or online deals to see what is on sale for the week. Once you know what meats and seasonal fruits and vegetables are being offered at a good price, you can research recipes to maximize your meal planning options for the season. Then, compare your recipes to determine your budget before you’re in the store.

Check out meal planning resources through Google search and on sites like Pinterest. There are meal prepping tips and plans available from places like Home Cooks and the Food Network. There are plenty of cost-effective options out there.

Choose different recipes with the same source of protein.
Whether you’re making meals for a family or you’re making lunches for yourself, buying in bulk is typically best. If you’ve found a few recipes for chicken that you think you’ll like, buy the chicken in bulk and freeze what you don’t use right away. For example, you could use chicken for the following meal planning recipes:

  • Chicken Burrito Bowls
  • Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
  • Chicken, Broccoli, and Rice

There are so many different choices that make meal planning flexible and customizable depending on your particular preferences and tastes. Be sure to mix it up, which is easy to do with meal prepping.

Choose recipes that require a limited number of ingredients. 
It’s easy to get carried away when you’re looking at what sounds and looks good for meals. Make sure to get recipes that have either a limited number of ingredients or items that you need to buy. If you find recipes that have common dried spices that you already have in your kitchen, this could be helpful to your wallet as well.  Have a little fun and experiment with flavors that you’re confident will work well together.

Be sure to budget for meal planning and keep track of all your transactions. If you use these simple tips and tricks, you will be well on your way to becoming a savvy meal planner – that works for both your taste buds and your monthly food budget!

 

3 Ways to Cut Back on Your Food Budget

If you’re spending too much money on food, the easy remedy is to eat out less. If you’ve already done that, then you may be looking for ways to cut back on your grocery bill. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to spend less at the grocery store, here are a few things to think about.

Only buy food: It can really be convenient to get all your shopping done at one place, and if you’re buying groceries at Walmart or Target, you might be on to something. But if you’re using your local grocery store as the place you always buy shampoo or soap, you might be throwing money away. Even though you may have to make an extra trip, you can save money by getting those household items elsewhere.

Don’t shop so often: Every time you go to the grocery store, it can be tempting to grab an extra item or two that isn’t on your shopping list. If you’re shopping once or twice a week, those extra purchases can add up quick. Try to do your grocery shopping no more than once a week, make a list, and stick to it.

Pay attention to unit prices: If you buy a 24 pack of bottled water each week, check out that 36 pack instead. You may not think you have room for it, but buying those extra 12 bottles could save you money when you look at the unit price. However, unlike shopping at bulk stores like Costco, you can’t always count on the higher count items being cheaper at your local grocery store. Pay attention to what’s on sale, check those unit prices, and compare to get the best deal.

Happy shopping (and saving)!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com