Meal Planning on a Budget

Have you ever noticed how meal planning seems really fun, until you realize that all the healthy foods cost more than the unhealthy foods? For some reason, it’s easier to buy a $1 bag of chips than it is to buy veggies, and that is a tough pill to swallow.

If you’re trying to be more budget conscious while meal planning here are some tips:

  1. Write out your entire meal plan before you go shopping. All the ingredients you need, all things you might be missing. Be detailed. If you notice a lot of high priced ingredients on your plan or unique items like spices that you will only use for this one recipe, it might be smart to swap out that meal for something different.
  2. Frozen veggies, while not quite the same as fresh, are a good alternative. They still cost more than cans, but they’re a step in the right direction and will keep longer than fresh items will.
  3. Think about seasonal produce items first. In-season fruits and veggies will always be at a better price than out-of-season. These items aren’t being shipped in, are well stocked, and likely local. 
  4. Compare your meal plan price-wise to the cost of eating out. If you’re eating out, even fast food, you’re likely spending a minimum of $20 for less food. Compare that to cooking your meals and while the actual price might be similar, you might get more meals out of something you’ve cooked yourself!

What are your meal planning tips and tricks?