Meal planning is great for saving time and sanity, but how does meal planning save you money? Let’s answer that question right now with not one but five ways meal planning can save you money.
How Does Meal Planning Save You Money?
Having a plan for your meals each week can make a big difference in your overall life. It can end the “what’s for dinner?” debate in your house and it can help make dinnertime less stressful. If you aren’t convinced yet to learn how to meal plan, then maybe the idea of saving money on dinner each week will help.
Reduce Food Waste
One thing you will quickly notice once you start meal planning is how quickly the amount of food you waste goes down. Our meal planning method includes making a grocery list for the week. A grocery list will help prevent you from wandering through the grocery store and adding food you may or may not eat to your cart. Suddenly, you won’t be buying spinach “just in case.” Everything you buy will have a plan.
Catch Sales More Often
Chances are, as you get into meal planning, you will quickly notice that you prefer certain types of meals. We call them “go-to meals,” they will often be in rotation every week or two. Having things on hand for your “go-to meals” just in case is always a good idea, especially when it’s on sale. You can take advantage of sales or buy in bulk when you know what’s coming up in your meal plan weekly.
Less Eating Out
Once you’ve planned your meals and gone grocery shopping, you have taken the heavy lifting out of your week. Now, all you have to do is cook the meals. With your meal plan, you will know exactly what needs to be cooked, when it needs to be cooked, and how much time it will take.
This will prevent that last-minute swing through the McDonald’s drive-thru on the way to practice because you didn’t have a plan for dinner. Over time, the cost of these fast food stops add up, when you could be cooking something for half the price at home.
Better Portions = Less Food Purchased
Part of having a grocery list means you’ll only purchase what you need, not a lot of extras. When you sit down to make your weekly meal plan, recipes will tell you approximately how many servings it makes. Not only will you know what to plan for dinner that night, but you will also know how many extra meals you get out of it. This could mean that lunch is served for the next three days. It could mean that you get to add in a leftover night.
Having fewer meals, you need to make and knowing the portion sizes will help you save on buying a lot of extra food that usually ends up going to waste because you use leftovers instead.
Knowing What Ingredients You Can Use More Than Once
Having a list of recipes your family enjoys is extremely helpful. As you plan your dinners each week, you can group them into themes so you can reuse ingredients throughout the week. For example, if you buy a whole chicken, you can use it for multiple dishes such as chicken soup, stir-fry, and sandwiches. This maximizes the value of the ingredients you purchase.
As you get more familiar with meal planning each week for your family, it will get easier to know what meals you can pair together to allow you to buy fewer ingredients. Play around with it at first and see where you can create that overlap.
So, to answer the question, “How does meal planning save you money?” Meal planning will allow you to buy less food for more value, save your sanity by avoiding drive-thrus, and allow for less food waste. In addition to all of these benefits, meal planning can lead to healthier eating habits, as it encourages the use of fresh and wholesome ingredients and reduces reliance on convenience and processed foods.
Are you ready to get started on meal planning? Sign-up for Meal Planning Made Easy, and we’ll teach you everything you need to know to nail your meal planning routine in less than 15 minutes weekly.
Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.