Menu planning can help prevent food waste and save money, two things every frugal cook appreciates.
Here are the top five ways menu planning can help you put more money back in the bank.
As a child I didn’t think much about menu planning, really. It’s just something my mom did every month. She never allowed groceries to derail the family budget.
We didn’t eat fancy, but we did eat well. And no one ever went to bed hungry. At least, not because there wasn’t food…
I have done menu planning my entire adult life because I watched my Mom do it. I just kinda thought it was part of the Adult Handbook.
It works with a monthly paycheck or a weekly paycheck. Single, married, with kids and without, it just works.
And it will always save you money.
And now here are the top whys I menu plan.
Here are the top 5 ways menu planning saves you money
#1. Menu Planning Reduces Spending
This is the biggie right here. It’s where all the saving starts.
When you make a menu plan, you have to make a grocery list to go along with it.
And we all know that taking a list to the store and, ya know, sticking with it, keeps you from spending more than your budget allows.
And if you find out that you need adult supervision at the grocery store, take an accountability partner with you.
But not the kids…
And don’t go shopping if you’re hungry. Always eat before you go so it’s easier to stick to the list.
#2. Menu Planning Reduces Waste
Menu planning allows you see everything in your pantry, fridge, and freezer every month. So nothing gets lost in the back of the cabinet.
Like, remember that package of quinoa that you bought last year because you wanted to try it?
Oh yeah, I just went there.
When you know what you have on hand you can use it all and nothing has to be tossed.
And nothing languishes in the bottom of the crisper drawer and gets all slimy and gross.
Like that nasty celery that’s been in there for 2 months now.
#3. Menu Planning Curbs Impulse Buying
When you have a menu plan you only need to shop for groceries on payday. So that means you only go to the grocery store once or twice a month.
The fewer times you’re in the store the fewer times you’ll be tempted to impulse buy.
We all know that just running to the store for milk or bread or eggs or whatever usually turns into more.
And for goodness sake, don’t go in between 3 and 6 in the afternoon. Cuz that’s when the deli is frying chicken and the bakery is baking bread.
They do it on purpose, ya know, so you’ll get hungry and buy more food.
They’re sneaky little hobbitses…
#4. Menu Planning Gives You Free Lunches
Now I know in Econ 101 they taught you that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But they were wrong.
Shocking, I know!
When you menu plan and cook a real meal every evening, or at least most evenings, you get leftovers.
Unless you happen to have a teenager that eats like a velociraptor. In which case, all bets are off.
But normally, you will have leftovers. I like to go ahead and portion those out for lunches right after dinner.
Labeled and put into the freezer, these are fast and easy to grab in the morning to take to work.
Ta da! No more spending way too much on eating lunch out every day. Cuz we all know that happens.
And last, but certainly not least,
#5. Menu Planning Means No More Drive Thru Dining
Fast food not only takes a toll on our wallets, but on our waistlines as well.
And I don’t much like what’s happening to it right now to be honest…
But menu planning can keep you out of that drive thru lane.
Because, when you have a menu plan, you already have something in the crockpot.
Or you were really smart and put some fast and easy meals on the menu.
Both of which are excellent reasons to skip that line.
Menu Planning Saves More Than Money
Menu planning saves you more than just money. It saves you time and stress as well.
No more trying to figure out what to cook when you’re already tired and hungry and maybe just a tiny little bit cranky.
It enables you to make healthier food choices for you and your family.
And it brings families back to the dinner table.
That sounds like thumbs up all around to me!
And if you’d like a few tips on how to make dinner time more inviting, check out How to go from “Dinner” to “Dining” In 7 Easy Steps.