If you find yourself overspending on eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout, whether that be because you have a busy schedule and don’t have time to cook, or you forget to pack a lunch to work, you’re not alone. One solution that could save you hundreds of bucks in the next two months is meal prepping. Prepping at least one daily meal for the week will set you up to be more financially responsible with your spending, plus, it saves time in the morning when you’re rushing to work, and reduces the amount of times you need to cook per week. If you’re interested in learning how to meal prep on a budget, keep reading for insightful tips you’ll need to know to start your meal prepping journey.
What is Meal Prepping?
Before we get into the tips and tricks, let’s first get a quick run through of what exactly meal prepping is. For those who aren’t familiar, meal prepping is preparing meals in advance, usually for a period of a few days to a week. It involves planning and cooking meals ahead of time, so that you have healthy, nutritious and delicious meals ready to eat whenever you need them. People usually meal prep to save time and money, and in some cases to hit fitness/ dietary goals.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get into some meal prepping tips!
Stick to Simple Ingredients
An easy way to meal prep on a budget is to stick to a few main ingredients. That includes easy to find foods like rice, potatoes, fish, and chicken. As long as you make sure you are including at least one protein, carb, healthy fat, and veggie, you’re good to go. Stick to simple meals with simple ingredients, and you won’t need to spend too much at the grocery store.
Buy in Bulk
Another tip to save money while meal prepping is to buy your groceries in bulk. Buy your ingredients in bulk from a store like Costco, and then plan on eating the same meal every day. There will be some repetition, but you can spice up your ingredients by adding different spices and herbs to each meal, and finding recipes that use the same ingredients but cook them in different ways to get variety out of your meals. To get the most out of this approach, focus on foods that are easy to freeze or have a long shelf life, like chicken breast, broccoli, and rice, for example.
Plan Meals Around Coupons
To further cut costs when buying ingredients to meal prep, consider taking advantage of coupons when shopping. Look for coupons in your local newspaper, online coupon websites, and mobile coupon apps like Honey. Make a list of the grocery items you need for your meal prepping and search for coupons that match those items. Look for deals on non-perishable items such as grains, pasta, and canned goods that can be stored for a long time. Another tip is to sign up for store loyalty programs and purchase items when they are on sale to save even more money. By using coupons, you can save even more money on meal prepping costs.
Invest in Reusable Containers
Our last tip to effectively meal prep on a budget is to buy reusable containers that are specific to meal prepping. The reason we say specific to meal prepping is because these types of containers allow you to perfectly portion your food evenly in order to get the most meals out of your week. This helps you save money over a longer period and have easy-to-grab meals for the whole week. Another pro is that using reusable containers Instead of disposable ones will save you money in the long run by reducing the need to constantly purchase new containers. Look for containers that are made of high-quality materials such as glass or BPA-free plastic to ensure that they last for a long time. You can also buy your containers in bulk to get a better deal. Check out these reusable containers on Amazon.
The bottom line is, meal prepping is an excellent way to save money on food expenses while still enjoying healthy and delicious meals. Whether you have a busy schedule or forget to pack a lunch for work, meal prepping can help you be more financially responsible with your spending. By following simple tips such as sticking to simple ingredients, buying in bulk, using coupons, and investing in reusable containers, you can save money on your grocery bill and avoid overspending on eating out. Not only does meal prepping help you save money, but it also saves time in the morning when you're rushing to work or preparing for the day ahead. With these money-saving tips, meal prepping can be an easy and affordable way to eat healthier and save money.