I used to hate meal planning, I thought it was pointless and a waste of time.
Oh boy how wrong was I! Meal planning and meal prepping has saved me so much money especially when I am working.
On average I could spend up to £10 a day on meals and snacks for work, this includes buying takeaway coffees.
But when I started my budget I realised that this was something I needed to change in order to save extra cash each month. So I began meal planning to help me and I haven’t looked back!
So keep reading as I share how to meal plan to save you some cash!
1. Do a stock take what you already have
Before you even think about meal prepping and planning, make sure you do a bit of planning before hand.
Imagine you work in a shop, before the staff go and buy more stock they look at what they already have.
So you should do the same with your own “stock”
Before you go shopping and buy lots of food, make a note of what you already have in your freezers, fridge and cupboards.
I would start by planning meals around what you already have that way you are not wasting the food you already have and your saving money by not buying double of what you need.
If you have lots of pasta then you know that you can create pasta meals instead of buying more.
Use what you got before you head to the shop!
2. How many meals are you going to create?
Due to me living at home I only need to prep my meals for work, so on average I cook 6- 8 meals a week and this include lunches and dinner.
If you are cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner then that takes a lot of planning preparing.
You also need to think about how many people you are cooking for, I am lucky and I only need to cook for myself so not many meals. If you are cooking for the whole family you will need to think about your budget when planning and preparing these meals.
3. Do you have the room?
When you meal prep you do need to make sure you have the space! How far in advance will you be preparing your food?
You will need fridge and freezer space as you don’t want to waste the food that you have prepared, so before you undertake meal prepping make sure you have the room.
We usually eat up the food we have left in the fridge and freezer before I meal prep so I can store the food correctly.
4. Do you have enough containers?
This may seem like a silly question but do you have enough containers for all the food? When I first started meal prepping I didn’t have enough which meant that I was unable to store the food correctly.
It is also important that they are the same size to control your portion sizes and the amount of food you cook.
You don’t need to buy expensive containers either, if you have some left over from your takeaways then use them.
5. Do you have the time?
Meal prepping can take a while so do you have the time. I usually spend 2 hours before my working week preparing my meals.
This gives me enough time to prepare, cook and store the food once it is all cooled down.
You will need to budget for meal prepping and planning. The whole point of planning and prepping is to save yourself money in the long run. But your first shopping bill might be higher.
When I first started meal pepping my first food shop was a lot of money because I doubled up on items especially meat and veg that can be frozen.
So make sure you budget carefully!
Do you meal plan and meal prep? What is your favourite meal?