If you’ve never meal planned before, take heart: it can be super easy! And even a little effort in this area can have great benefits.
Why meal plan?
1) It saves you time
When you know what you are making for the week, you will make sure to buy all the right ingredients when you shop. So when it comes time to make dinner, you won’t have that agonizing “It’s five o’clock, and oh my goodness, what are we having for dinner tonight?!” panic. You won’t need to run out to the store, or as I sometimes do, ask my partner to stop at the store on his way home, setting back our whole evening routine.
2) It saves you money
Nor will you have to resort to “We don’t have anything to make for dinner, we need to order a pizza!” That kind of decision brings our dinner bill up around $40. Not a frugal habit.
But the other way that meal planning saves you money is that it allows you to think about all the different meals you tend to make, cost them out, and figure out ways to alternate more-expensive meals and less-expensive meals during the week. Then if you have a finance crunch, you will know at a glance what your more frugal options are for meals to get you through that tight time.
3) It brings you peace
In the scenarios mentioned above, we have seen panic and stress, not to mention the ongoing anguish of tough finances. Using these simple tools will reduce that stress by a lot. It’s true.
The problem is, it doesn’t eliminate it fully. There will always be that little moment of anxiety when you sit down to make your meal plan, facing the blank page, the stress of needing to spend no money this week obliterated by the fact that you have to buy groceries.
That moment of stress is probably why I dropped this great habit. That moment of stress is probably why so many people don’t meal plan.
But the truth is, by front-loading your stress to one five-minute panic per week while you make your list, you streamline your whole week! You get a seven-fold return on your investment (or more).
Now that you’re motivated, stay tuned over the next few days to learn some really easy, low-tech and cheap-as-free strategies to start (or re-start) meal planning and saving money!