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Planning Your Meals

Groceries tend to be one of the largest expenses in household budgets. Cutting back and using cost-saving measures can help a lot, but so can planning out your meals ahead of time.

Planning your meals basically means deciding what to eat far enough ahead of time that you can save money. As we all know, impulse buying and more trips to the store end up costing more. Paying convenience store prices is also a real budget drain. Planning your meals can eliminate, or at least reduce, these wastes of money.

Meals can be planned around a weekly shopping trip. Even if you’re not a coupon clipper, the supermarket’s weekly advertisement will tell you what’s on sale for the week. Seeing the sale items may inspire you to try a new dish or remind you of an old favorite. As you become familiar with prices, you’ll also be able to spot the really good deals. When these come along, you can stock up on the product of interest.

Having to plan ahead may sound limiting, since you might feel like having a steak one night even though a pasta meal is planned. Rather than planning which meals will be for which nights, you can simply ensure that you have sufficient meals to cover each of the days you are shopping for. Then you can decide each morning what you’ll prepare that day. We also like to keep our family schedule in mind when shopping. That way we’ll buy meals of varying preparation time to cover busy nights with limited time as well as leisurely nights where more preparation time is available.

By investing in sale items, reducing the total time spent grocery shopping, and eliminating wasteful spending habits, you stand to greatly reduce one of your larger expenses. The variety and improved healthiness of food choices is an added benefit. Couldn’t your household benefit from planning your meals as well?

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