MEAL PLAN UNIVERSITY: LESSON 2- Money Saving Tips
I don’t know about you, but I’m a total bargain shopper! If I can get something on sale or tied to some sort of discount or incentive I do it. I used to be a teacher and my husband was a farmer so we’ve always had a “make do” mentality and lived by a budget. WAIT---YOU’RE TELLING ME YOU CAN EAT HEALTHY ON A BUDGET?!
Yes, I am!
The “hearsay” is that it’s expensive to eat healthy, but MAN was I surprised when I started planning out our meals, making healthy swaps and our grocery budget didn’t skyrocket! (I won’t say it went down because, WELL, our kids got bigger and started eating more food ;) ) But it definitely does NOT break the bank to eat healthy in our house because we are SMART about it. We PLAN.
Here’s a few MONEY SAVING TIPS that you can apply:
1. BUY IN BULK or ON SALE- Buying things like meat, veggies/fruit (fresh or canned), tortillas, bread, pasta, rice, condiments, spices, baking essentials, etc can save you $ each time you go to the store. We have a chest freezer to hold our bulk items like meat, fruit, veggies, bread, and tortillas. A few ways you can do this-
Shop “case lot” sales at your local grocery store. Fall and spring are usually when they happen. We like to stock up on our low sodium veggies and low sugar fruits! We use a lot of diced tomatoes and tomato paste to make homemade pasta and pizza sauce. We also love green beans for stews or a quick side veggie! Peaches are yummy for cobblers or as a snack with cottage cheese.
Shop at places like “CostCo” or “WinCo” and watch for great deals on items you use a lot. I like to get my spices and baking items in bulk at places like this.
Buy in season fruit/veggies in bulk and freeze them. Or ask a neighbor if you can enjoy some of their harvest! Where I live people are usually giving away raspberries, zucchini and apples this time of year- ALL of which freeze GREAT! If you need tips on how to freeze certain items- GOOGLE IT! Great tips on the internet for food preservation. Canning is also an option too!
2. “BUT I HAVE A COUPON FOR THAT!” - Coupons can be GREAT, but they can also expand your waistline and encourage unhealthy habits in our homes. I’m all for treats! But constantly stocking up on the junk just because you “have a coupon” for it- WELL I’m not so much for that. Remember, if it’s in your house then you’re probably going to eat it! When you cut coupons, search for things that you will actually use and things that aren’t “junk food” items. If you NEED a few junk food items for some reason, that’s great- but always ask if there’s a healthier alternative that would cost just as much or less. Purchasing something “just because you have a coupon” or “just because you like it” can be a bad habit to get into and can actually COST you money (and your health!!) A few food items that I coupon for- Popcorn, granola bars, fruit snacks, cereals, pasta, chips, cheese, yogurt, bread, and baking items. Like I said- coupons are not bad! But I’m pretty sure you don’t need 10 tubes Pringles and 10 bags of Oreos :P
3. MAKE DOUBLE- This is a simple way to save your sanity and save $. Whenever I cook a meal I try to double what I’m cooking so that I can have a portion for the next day or two and even have some to freeze. Having yummy food stocked in your freezer will save you on those nights that you would normally order pizza or run to your fave restaurant. A few things we like to freeze and have on hand for a quick meal- soups/stews, pancakes/waffles, taco meat, and fajita meat.
4. MAKE MEALS IN BULK (FREEZER MEALS)- I’m a huge fan of the freezer (can you tell?). I love having food in there I can pull out and make in a hurry. Freezer meals are my favorite. Above I talked about making double when cooking but when I do TRUE freezer meals it’s different. I like to do it when I can get all of my ingredients in bulk for cheap. Usually in the fall I can find chicken in bulk for cheap so I will find a few yummy freezer meals to make up and have on hand.
5. PLAN YOUR MONTH & EVALUATE WEEKLY- We will go over this more later, but actually sitting down at the beginning of each month and then each week and going over your plans can save you money! We call it “family council” and it typically happens on Sunday night for us. This includes discussing and planning things like a grocery budget (amount and whether you will shop weekly, monthly etc.), upcoming family activities, work commitments, family activities, travel, church and community commitments, date nights etc. Having a vision of your month/week will help you know when you need to have quick meals on hand (freezer meals, prepped meals etc) and will save you from eating out! “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” ← that is a truth that will always remain. So take time to get a plan and keep planning!
Want more tips? Here’s a great article!!!http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-ways-to-eat-healthy-on-a-budget
ASSIGNMENT: In your journal record at least 1 way you are going to start “Pinching Pennies” with your meal planning. Brainstorm ideas on how you can apply the above tips to your family.
Make sure to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on Facebook (Breezie Bitter) with any questions you have!!
LESSON 1- Healthy Eating 101
LESSON 2- Money Saving Tips
LESSON 3- Family Food Ideas
LESSON 4- Meal Planning
LESSON 5- Shopping
LESSON 6- Meal Prepping
LESSON 7- Sticking to the plan
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