Creating Budget-Friendly Meal Plans

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Everybody eats. We all make the decision of what to eat multiple times a day and this simple choice can make or break a budget. Creating a meal-plan is an easy way to cut down your grocery budget. It is also important to know where to shop and what types of food will fit into your budget. Here are a few simple tips to get you started:

  • Plan ahead. Create a meal plan using frugal foods as the base for recipes. Eggs, dry pasta, beans, legumes, flour, potatoes, frozen vegetables are fantastic starting points when creating recipes and meal plans.
  •  Build a stocked pantry. If your kitchen is stocked with basic necessities such as soy sauce, hot sauce, spices, olive oil, broth, honey, and basic spices you will be able to build different flavor profiles using the same base ingredients. This will save you money in the long run.
  • Buy meat on sale in bulk. Meat is often the most expensive item in a recipe. To cut cost, plan your recipes based on what meat is on sale this week at your local grocer. Buy a large cut so you can freeze smaller portions for meals later in the month. 
  • Cook from scratch. Learn to make simple sauces, such as pesto, cheese sauce, or a pan sauce, in addition to things like pizza dough, waffles, pancakes, bread, etc. to save a ridiculous amount of money on meals such as pasta, pizza, and breakfast.
  • Don’t try too hard. Some people feel overwhelmed by the idea of meal-planning. While it can be tedious and very detail oriented, it does not have to be. Choose a meal plan that is simple but variable. For example, if you pick a type of food for each day, you can vary the specific flavor profile on a weekly basis. You could designate specific staple dishes: baked potatoes, frittattas, pasta, paninis, pizza, etc., per day a week. So while you are eating pasta once a week, there are a million variations so you won’t get bored.
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