One of the biggest hits to our monthly budgets has to come in the form of our food budget. With growing families, activities, and work in the way it can be really tough to streamline your food budget to not include a lot of ready made meals or foods on the go. One way to help save time and money is to menu plan.
Here are 5 Money Saving Reasons To Menu Plan that will help you not only stretch your food budget but save time in the process. Menu planning can be daunting but it is truly a simple process that is worth your time and effort for the savings as well as the knowledge you have provided healthier options for your family.
5 MONEY SAVING REASONS TO MENU PLAN
Menu Plans Use Leftovers More Readily. Let’s face it, a lot of people just don’t like eating leftovers. A solution to this issue is to create a menu plan that uses your leftovers in a different and flavorful way. A great example is a weekly menu that includes a slow cooked pot roast or whole chicken that can be served traditionally one night, shredded for tacos a second night and used in a soup or stew a third night. Little waste and a huge time saver since you can cook the meat for 2-3 meals all at once this is a great reason to plan your week menu around what cuts of meat are on sale currently.
Use Items You Already Have In The Pantry. When you plan your menu for the week or month check your pantry for ingredients before going shopping. Not only do you waste less money buying duplicate items you already have on hand, but you may be able to come up with meals using ingredients you hadn’t thought about combining before. This equals less waste and more money saved.
Take advantage of sales and seasonal items. Being aware of the current sales on meats and seasonal fruits and vegetables can help shape your menu plan and save you money. Summer months find ground meats, steaks and chicken leg quarters at their lowest prices of the year due to grills being used more frequently as well as holiday events. Take advantage of those sales to enjoy burgers on the grill, steaks, kabobs or your favorite barbecue chicken recipe. Seasonal fruits and vegetables will be at their lowest prices and should be used instead of non sale items. Not only will this end up being healthier for your family, but it will also shave dollars off your budget.
Cook what your family actually wants to eat. Menu planning isn’t just about what mom wants but about what the entire family will eat. Creating easy or even elaborate meals that nobody enjoys isn’t cost effective but wasteful. Sit down once a month and have everyone in your family list 5 meals that they enjoy and want you to create. This helps ease the burden of you having to always decide and makes sure everyone enjoys what you make.
Fewer Last Minute Grocery Store or Fast Food Runs. We have all been there where nothing was set out for dinner so you end up hitting the drive through or running in the grocery store on the way home to grab a few things to make. A store run for a pound of hamburger and bag of French fries can quickly turn into a $50 trip that includes things like chips, cookies, ice cream, etc. Having your menu planned ahead of time will prevent these last minute budget draining trips.
While it does take a few minutes to create your personal menu plan each month or week, you will find that these 5 money saving reasons to menu plan are worth every second. Using your food budget more wisely will create a cushion in your family budget for other things like paying off debt, summer vacations, birthday celebrations or new appliances or electronics you are in need of.
To help you menu plan, here is a free printable.