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Money Tip: Planning Meals Saves Money

SJ-R.com posted an article with tips on how to save money on your grocery bill. The most important tip was in regards to planning your meals ahead of time and not waiting till 6pm to figure out what is for dinner.

“Rising prices lead to food insecurity,” said Jenna Hogan, nutrition and wellness educator at the University of Illinois Extension.

Food insecurity is when a person is unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life.

In the U.S., food represents 6.9 percent of average household expenditures, she said. That’s $2, 208 per person annually, or $184 per month.

The key to big savings, she said, is meal planning.

“You don’t want to be asking, ‘What’s for dinner?’ at 6 o’clock. You’ll want to go out to eat,” she said.

Meal planning decreases the need for store visits, limits impulse buys, reduces anxiety over what to prepare for dinner and allows for healthier meals.

Lesson Learned:
I do a lot of non-evasive couponing, myself, and on average save about $50 per grocery trip because of it through sites like thecouponclippers.com. I do plan my meals for the most part, but not usually days in advance (though we do eat a lot of leftovers which takes care of some of the days in advance).

I’ve also read about people doing all of their cooking on Sunday and then putting the rest in containers or freezing it so it can easily be thawed or heated up later for meals, which I think is incredibly awesome and try to attempt as much as I am able.

The Simple Dollar has a nice guide for planning ahead for next weeks meals to save money. He has a link to a simple worksheet to fill out for planning meals, but I prefer to have a slightly more detailed worksheet (pdf) that will help me plan out my grocery ingredients list as well for the weekend.

About Crystal Groves, Google+

Crystal Groves is a farmer, web developer, musician, blogger, and personal finance enthusiast from the back hills of Maryland and Pennsylvania. She started Money Drain as a project to encourage people interested in fixing their financial situation to share their stories and learn from the stories of others. We all make mistakes, but in order to change we have to make changes.

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