Our second largest budget category is food! Let me share our totals from last year for your viewing pleasure (or horror)?
On a weekly basis, it works out to $151 for groceries and $45 for fast food. Usually once a month we will have a $145 splurge at a “fancy” restaurant.
Some people might find our food spending high for a family of 4, but this is a HUGE improvement. A few years ago, I sat down and added up all our fast foot and restaurant bills and estimated that we were spending approximately $700 dollars a month on take out alone. Never mind what I was spending at the grocery store. I am still a work in progress but I keep trying to improve and…
Help has arrived.
Today, fellow blogger Anum Yoon from Current On Currency is joining us to share her tips and some great resources to help trim the that grocery bill.
How Meal Prepping Can Help Your Weekly Food Budget
It happens to the best of us. You hit snooze one time too many times and you wake up with 15 minutes to fling yourself out the door and get to work. Your good intentions of making a spinach and mushroom omelet fly out the window as you grab a coffee and McMuffin on your commute. Then the kids’ soccer practice runs late, and if you make grandma’s famous meatloaf like you had planned, dinner won’t be on the table until midnight. Pizza it is – again.
Break the unhealthy and expensive cycle of fast food reliance by planning and prepping your meals. Take care of a few things ahead of time, and you will find yourself saving money, eating healthier and maybe even feeling a little less stressed.
Planning your meals for the week will save you money in several ways:
- You can compare. Knowing the ingredients you need ahead of time will give you the opportunity to do some comparison shopping in the weekly grocery circulars. You also know what coupons to watch for.
- You can plan your meals around what’s fresh. Plan your meals around produce that is in season and grown locally. Shopping at your local farmer’s market will provide you with much fresher produce, and it comes at a lower cost.
- You won’t be as tempted to purchase extra items. Finally, a meal plan keeps you from wandering aimlessly in the grocery store and putting everything that looks tasty into your basket. Armed with your list you can get in, get out and stay on budget.
Once you have been meal planning for a while, you will most likely find that your favorite meals keep popping up. When you figure out what recipes you will be making most frequently, you can start buying those ingredients in bulk. Buying things you need in bulk can save you money. You don’t need five gallons of pickles. Trust me.
Now that you’ve purchased what you need to make a week’s worth of healthy meals, take some time to prep meals before you need them. Doing so will greatly reduce the stress of morning madness or late evenings after practice.
Make overnight oats so you always have a grab and go breakfast on hand. You can prep a variety of Mason jar salads for lunch. One of my favorite money and time-saving techniques is to always make a little extra for dinner and then pack that for lunch the next day.
If possible, spend a few hours on the weekend washing, chopping, dicing and marinating ingredients for dinner. Freezer meal parties are very popular right now. These gatherings give you a chance to spend fun time with friends while making meals ahead that can be finished with minimal effort. One pot meals are another fast and easy way to get a healthy dinner on the table – and the bonus is having fewer dirty dishes!
If you need help getting started with meal planning, there are meal planning services that for a small fee will help you plan your menu and create a printable shopping list. There is also nothing wrong with using good old pen and paper. So get planning and start prepping your way to budget-friendly healthy family meals.
But before you go, I want to leave you with these dining disasters. Proof that no matter how bad you think you are in the kitchen, others who are worse. There is hope for all of us. Check out the woman with the lobsters at 0:15!