Food waste can be costly – both financially and space wise. Planning meals helps prevent food waste by using what’s already on hand to plan meals around.
Nelson suggests creating a shopping list and selecting ingredients with inherent cost-cutting benefits – like beans, rice, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
1. Save Money on Takeout
Are you regularly asking, “What should I make for dinner?” and making last-minute trips to the store because essential ingredients have run out? Meal planning allows you to set a weekly menu and buy only what is necessary; additionally, taking advantage of sales or using coupons could save even more.
Meal planning also reduces food waste, with the average American family throwing away 32% of groceries purchased, costing both money and resources in wasteful disposal practices. By creating an eating plan, however, only purchasing what you need and using it before it spoils.
Meal planning also allows you to take advantage of sales and buy multiple ingredients at once for use in multiple dishes (like chicken or lasagna noodles) so there won’t be extras sitting around in your fridge.
2. Save Money on Groceries
Implementing a plan when shopping groceries will allow you to spend less on products that you will end up wasting – great news both for your wallet and the environment!
Avoid stockpiling ingredients you won’t use frequently by planning meals that incorporate them; this will avoid multiple trips to the store and being lured in by BOGO offers on items you don’t really require.
Menu planning can help you eat healthier by encouraging you to try new dishes and ingredients, which may reduce cravings for high-calorie fast food and convenience foods, and save money in dental costs and medical costs caused by unhealthy eating habits.
3. Save Money on Alcohol
Eating out can often be the fastest and simplest option, but it can become very expensive quickly. Even just a $10 lunch out or $2 drink on your way home could easily add up over time.
Meal planning can help you sidestep this temptation by making meal preparation quicker and simpler at home, with all ingredients necessary already on hand reducing your chances of succumbing to fast food or drive-through restaurant temptation on your way back from work.
Meal planning can also reduce food waste by helping you buy only what’s necessary each week, as well as by helping you stick to a budget and avoid impulse buys that are unnecessary. Plus, by buying bulk at Costco or only purchasing seasonal produce, this will also cut back your grocery costs while supporting local farmers while decreasing waste!
4. Save Money on Groceries
Shopping without a meal plan in place can quickly add up, leading you to spend more than necessary. That’s because you may become distracted by BOGO deals and snacks that don’t fit with your eating habits (but might tempt you). Plus, multiple visits a week adds up gas expenses as well as store visits.
Meal planning helps reduce overbuying and food waste, saving money in the long run. To maximize your grocery budget, opt for items that can be used in multiple meals (like brown rice or chicken breasts) while keeping an eye out for sales to find your favorites at discounted prices; coupons can even add savings! Don’t forget to look in your pantry and fridge first as there could be many ingredients sitting there that could become dinner!