Meal Planning & Saving Money in the Kitchen
While studying, I worked in some of the most beautiful, grand houses in Sydney. I was always very curious to see how these families ran their houses when money wasn’t really an issue. I thought I would see a lot of over spending and wastage, however I was completely wrong – these were the places I saw some of the best money saving practices, where everything was recycled, and food wastage was minimal. It was in these homes that it occurred to me how much you could save by changing a few simple habits and running your home/kitchen in a cost effective way.
Here are the best bits:
1. Meal Planning
We all know what meal planning is, but the truth is this really is the area where you will save a lot of money. Not only will you save money, but also you will be more inclined to eat more nutritionally balanced meals as each day has been planned and thought out. The best idea I’ve found is to create a physical meal plan roster, so each day is catered for. Meal planning with a roster converts very simply into a shopping list, which allows for exact ingredients to be purchased with minimal wastage. A meal plan chart is as simple as a monthly calendar with each square divided into breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks. Get the kids involved and let them choose a few meals, this works wonders for fussy eating too.
2. Online Shopping
Once you have a meal plan you will find that shopping is a breeze. You know exactly what you want and can buy the quantities you need online. You also have more time to shop smarter for the bargains and check nutritional panels to find the best nutritional options – see our posts on nutritional panels. Online shopping becomes even easier the more you do it because your lists can be saved and used the following month with only a few adaptions.
3. Bulk Buying
I was first introduced to bulk buying when I nannied for a family of 8. The grocery bill for this family was probably the same as mine (2 adults at the time). The amount you can save when buying in bulk is pretty astounding. Some ideas to get you started: buy a monthly lot of good quality meat from a butcher you trust (chicken, lamb, pork, beef) and ask them to package in 500g amounts. This idea works really well when combined with meal planning as you know exactly what you need and when so can pop the following day’s meal in the fridge the night before to defrost.
4. Limiting Food Wastage
Recognising food wastage and managing it can be a great way to save money. Each opened tin, or rogue half potato can be used to make something edible and delicious. A few great ideas are: the Sunday Soup – a soup made from all the leftover vegetables from the week; or using leftovers to make savoury muffins and other freezable snacks for kids’ lunchboxes. Meal planning really helps eliminate food wastage, and buying some good quality Tupperware for your fridge to keep vegetables and leftovers fresh. Have a look at our post on limiting food wastage for more information.
5. Buying Seasonal Fruit/Vegetables
Buying in season food can be a really good idea for both nutritional reasons and for money saving. Seasonal food is usually cheaper so planning your meals around the foods in season will end up being better for the whole family. We have a great post on buying in season if you want more information.
How do you save money in the home? Please leave your tips/ideas/comments, so we can add to our list.
Join us on Facebook for other foodie bits and pieces.