Meal planning to help your budget
One of the biggest cost centres (i.e. areas in which you can cut back with creative spending) of course is your groceries. You can stand to save a lot of money right out of the box, simply by planning your meals.
What does meal planning entail exactly and how do you do to it most effectively to help your budget? Here are some tips.
Plan your meals, plan your time
First of all, planning your meals helps you save time, which means you’ll be more organized. That also means that you’ll be less likely to have to hit the drive thru or order take-out in a meal time panic. See- you’ve saved money already!
Stock up on staples
Make sure that your pantry is stocked at all times with some inexpensive staples which should be the base of a lot of your meals. You should always have legumes, canned tuna, peanut butter, rice, pasta and cereal.
As far as meat and poultry go, you can probably get more meals out of things like ground beef and chicken parts which are very commonly used in recipes. Both are often on sale and freeze well. Additionally, they both lend themselves well to improvisation (i.e. what do I have in the fridge/pantry?). It’s a cost saving measure to always have these items on hand.
Scan the flyers
Spend a hour or two checking out what is on sale and make your list based on the flyers. Wherever possible, stock up when you find a deal.
Once you’ve nailed down a few key ingredients for the week, start selecting recipes. You can google based on a few ingredients, or if you’ve got a fixed dish in mind, go for it. You are always better off if you can try to find recipes that let you make extras, either for leftovers or for use in another dish.