It’s Frugal Friday! The time when we take a few moments to focus on tips and hints for frugal living.
Today we’ll talk a little more about Meal Planning, and how it can help keep your food budget under control. Food is an area of the budget that can have a ton of variation, especially when we get busy and resort to eating in restaurants or doing takeout on a regular basis.
We’ve often talked in the past about how creating a weekly meal plan can help simplify the dinner process and avoid that “What’s for dinner?” panic. If you plan your meals based on what you have on hand and what’s on sale this week, you can really create a lot of variety for your family for as little expense as possible. It also helps to have a few “go to” simple meals that you know your family enjoys, but don’t take a ton of time (like these “Fast Five” ideas!).
Another tip for meal planning that can really help when things get busy is preparing once, and being able to eat twice. If you can do this when you have a little extra time, you’ll have simple meals that will be quick to prepare on a busy night. For instance, when I make Chicken Enchiladas, I double the filling recipe and roll extra enchiladas to freeze. Next time we want them, I’ll pop them in a pan and just need to add sauce and cheese, and bake. Easy 5-minute meal!
When I get veggies ready for a veggie tray for a party, I take a few extra minutes to cut the leftover vegetables and put them in a freezer bag for stir fry. Then I only need to cut up a few chicken breasts, and half the prep work will be done for me. I’ve also started browning double the ground beef when I make it–I freeze half of it already cooked, and it’s great to have on hand to make tacos, sloppy joes, meat sauce, or chili that much easier.
You can do this with other things too by doubling the recipes for casseroles, spaghetti and meatballs, cooked chicken, muffins, cookie dough, and more. Keep an eye out for opportunities to do a little extra now to save yourself time and money later. Cook one now, and stash the leftovers in the freezer for future use–you’ll be able to get a frugal, nutritious meal on the table in less time than it would take to order a pizza.
Do you have recipes that lend themselves for prepping once and eating twice? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments or on Facebook!
If you’re just joining the Frugal Friday series, check out these other posts:
- Tracking Your Spending
- Creating a Budget
- Making Frugal Choices
- Fighting Spending Envy
- Could You Cut the Cable?
- Saving on Food Expenses
- Schedule to Save (keeping track of due dates to avoid fees & penalties)
- Staying Organized with Holiday Shopping & Rebates
- Frugal Lovin’ (Love & money, plus date night on a Shoestring Budget)
- Waste Not, Want Not (buying what you’ll use, and using what you buy)
- Frugal Fashion
- Frugal Beauty
- Budget Check-Up
- Plan ahead for Christmas
- Creating an Emergency Fund
- Getting by on a Single Income
- Reducing Fixed Expenses
- Free Printable Frugal Living Resources (meal planners, expense trackers, and more!)
- Saving on Gasoline
- Tips for Tax Time
- Healthy Eating on a Budget
- Frugal Living with Kids
- Frugal Fitness
- Save with Second-Hand
Megan has been frugal most of her life, but has been really honing her frugal skills as the chief home economist for her family of six, surviving and thriving on a single (teacher’s!) income. If she can do it, you can too!