So many of us are looking to save money on food by reducing our monthly food budget, and meal planning is the best way to accomplish that!
Like many people out there, you may be wondering, Why meal plan? Well, one of several practical reasons is that it is a great way to lower monthly expenses. Now you may be thinking, How much will I actually save? Since each year the average American family throws away over $2,000 in wasted food and spends $3,000 dining out, we’re talking about some serious Ks.
Saving that kind of cash sounds pretty good, right? Keep reading to find out 6 reasons why meal planning can help you reach your ideal food budget.
#1 – You avoid unnecessary expenses eating out
By meal planning ahead of time, you set your expectations for the week and know exactly what you’ll be cooking. This will save you from frequenting restaurants, ordering take-out, or grabbing fast food on the way home from work. At the end of the day, eating out adds up fast and will break your food budget every time.
Tess Lampert did a bit of research here, which shows that eating out costs double what it takes to cook the same meal at home. Spending just a few minutes creating a weekly meal plan would help keep that extra 50% in your pocket.
#2 – You save money at the grocery store
Having a plan for the week’s meals ensures that you go into the supermarket with a grocery list in hand. A list is so important because people usually spend up to 40% more when they don’t have what they need written down. That means if you only need to spend $100 according to your grocery list, you may very well spend $140 without it! Chances are, you would probably rather have that extra $40 stay in your bank account.
#3 – You can employ savvy ingredient strategies
Another advantage of having a grocery list is intentionally picking up food items that have a longer shelf life. The longer ingredients last, the fewer will go bad by the end of the week. Also, when you meal plan, you have an opportunity to plan around items that you already have at home. This will help reduce your food waste even further and make sure you don’t buy any duplicates.
#4 – You can go for the cheapest options
The price of individual items is one of the things you have time to consider when making a plan in advance. When you try to figure out dinner the day-of, you probably aren’t going to incorporate items that you know will be inexpensive.
With a perfectly laid plan, you can take advantage of seasonal produce, coupons, and bulk shopping. Instead of paying whatever a pre-made or restaurant meal charges (regardless of the current cost of ingredients), you can choose how to best stretch your buck.
#5 – You always enjoy easy lunches
By cooking a meal at home, you don’t only save yourself money on that night’s dinner, you also save on tomorrow’s lunch. Doubling recipes is super simple and will keep you from dashing out to pick up food during your lunch break. Instituting #lunchleftovers is one of the best ways to save a pretty penny every day of the week!
#6 – You can utilize budget-friendly tools
While paying for a meal planning service may sound counterproductive, the opposite is true if you use the right company. Here at Cook Smarts, we charge only $6 – $8 per month and give you all the tools you need to make savings easy. Because, let’s face it, most of the time we don’t put good ideas into practice because we just don’t have the time.
One of our top priorities is to help anyone be able to cook at home on a budget. That’s why we do the meal planning for you and equip you with super helpful tools like self-populating grocery lists, adjustable serving sizes to plan for leftovers, and 4 different diet versions for each recipe + hundreds of archive recipes so you can make whichever is friendliest on your budget that week.
7 Day Budget Meal Plan
Save money and eat healthier with 7 days of planned breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
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If you want to spend less on food every month, a meal plan will help you be aware of just how much you are spending on food. Creating your own meal schedule or using a good meal plan service is a smart way to be intentional about your goals. Not only will it help you take control of your grocery expenses, it can help you actually follow through on money-saving practices like Meatless Mondays or bulk shopping with a friend.
Now that you know how meal planning can help you save money on groceries and reduce food expenses every month, what are you waiting for? Put that extra hard-earned cash toward paying off debt, saving for graduate school, or even taking a greatly needed weekend getaway!
With a good meal plan, you can start saving and stop wasting today.
As always, we’re here to help you live your best life in the kitchen and provide delicious memories for you and your family. If you sign up for our newsletter below, we’ll send you great cooking tips and resources that will help you raise your kitchen IQ and cook with confidence.