How To Save Money: Meal Planning
Last year the average weekly food cost for the typical UK household was £91, up 3% from 2017, which is a considerable percentage of total household expenditure.
If you need to make your money stretch further and want to reduce your weekly spend, then planning your meals can help you tighten your budget. By planning your meals for the next few days or week ahead, it may take a bit more time, but it will help you save money long run.
Below are some tips to get you started;
MAKE A MENU
Each week, plan what meals you will cook for lunch and dinner and use your recipes to work out what ingredients you need and make a shopping list. Make sure you plan for meals where you have extra guests.
PLAN AT LEAST ONE MEATLESS MEAL PER WEEK
Not only is going meatless for a meal great for the environment, it’s also great for your bank balance. Beans, lentils, dried peas, eggs, tofu offer great tasting protein at a good price.
CHECK YOUR CUPBOARDS AND FREEZER
Look at the expiry dates of the foods and ingredients you already have on hand. Which ones do you need to use up? Then plan meals around these foods and ingredients.
AVOID FANCY INGREDIENTS
It may not be worth the money to buy an ingredient if you are only going to use it once. If a recipe calls for special/expensive ingredient, see if you can replace it with a cheaper alternative or look to leave it out altogether.
PLAN TO USE YOUR LEFTOVERS
Cooking in bulk can save you money if you think about how you are going to use your leftovers. For example, if mince is on sale, make two batches of lasagna instead of one. Serve one batch for dinner, and freeze the other batch in meal-sized portions for another time. Or, if you are cooking a Sunday roast, think about using the leftover meat in a sandwich for lunch on Monday.
By planning your meals, you can calculate exactly how much of each ingredient you need so you don’t buy too much. You can also incorporate special offers into your meals by planning multiple meals using the same ingredient. Planning your meals saves you money because you only spend money on what you need as you need it.