How Meal Planning and Planning Ahead Helps Save on Grocery Costs

It is estimated that Americans spend approximately $5,174 annually on food, or $431 in grocery bills monthly. The costs are similar in other developed countries such as Canada and the UK. Flyers such as your weekly No Frills Flyer or Wal-Mart flyer can help you to save money on groceries. Adding those with a few hours of meal planning every week or month can also help.

If you aren’t in the habit of meal planning or grocery planning, take the time to put it in your schedule. It will help you to save on grocery bills. Use these tips to get started.

Make a Schedule

Take an hour for your meal planning every week or month. Decide what meals you want to have, and start making lists. Keep lists going even when you aren’t heading out for groceries that day.

Plan for Leftovers

Try and plan to have two or three meals out of one. Plan to have lunch from dinner leftovers, or even breakfast food. Package your meals ahead of time for the next day, and turn leftovers into snacks as well. Sometimes you can even make several meals in one cooking, and package those for later as well.

Freeze leftovers if you are the kind that doesn’t like to eat leftovers the next day. You can turn them into an entire meal for the next week.

Don’t Buy Prepackaged Foods

Prepackaged or pre-made foods can be affordable, particularly when you get them on sale. They aren’t wholesome foods, however, and you can’t preserve them as leftovers for the next day or next week’s meal plan. Buy less convenience food and more food that will store well. It is typically much more affordable, and those dollars will stretch into more meals.

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Clean Your Cupboards

When you are planning your meals, clean out your cupboards and pantry shelves. You may find food that you didn’t know you had. Implement some of these ingredients into your meal planning so that you save money on your grocery bill.

Make the Habit of Planning

When you are trying to save money, you have to think about every penny. That requires some planning. Make the time to think about every aspect of your grocery bill. Look at it and see where you can save costs through planning alone. Adding that hour at the beginning of every month or week could add a lot of money into your grocery budget, that you can use on food instead of on the luxury grocery items you don’t think twice about. Make the habit of planning.