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4 Ways Meal Planning Can Change Your Life

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In an era of runaway inflation, it makes sense to save money in every way possible. But what can people do if they want to achieve significant savings by making serious changes to their lifestyles? One of the most effective and interesting techniques for strengthening family finances is to plan meals well in advance. Meal planning is a potent agent of change because it achieves several goals at once. It helps cut grocery bills, can lead to healthier eating habits, coaxes people to learn basic cooking skills, and encourages families to spend at least an hour or so together every day.

The first step is to create a general menu plan. After that, review the monthly budget with an eye toward reducing expenses and allowing for a slightly higher grocery bill. Don’t worry. You’ll save big on dining out and fast-food expenses. Consider starting out with four-week menus. Develop a master list for shopping and make an effort to estimate monthly food spending. If you need cooking lessons, check no-cost video classes online or ask a friend to teach you. Here’s how to get the ball rolling.

Reduce Monthly Expenses Before Making a Final Plan

Look for places where you can eliminate waste from the monthly budget. Likewise, try to spot areas where there are excellent opportunities to save on regular bills, like student loans, gasoline, and more. If you are paying on education loans, explore refinancing as a way of combining them into one obligation with a single due date and more favorable terms. Many working people are surprised to discover that a student loan refinance agreement allows them to chop a big chunk from monthly cash outflow. Then, they can rework the grocery portion of the budget to allow for higher grocery costs.

Set General Goals for Menus and Sourcing

Creating menus is about selecting foods that appeal to you and including a few items you’d like to experiment with each month. Make a list of your favorites, staples, and side dishes that your family will enjoy. Don’t feel the need to get consensus on every menu component, or you’ll never finish the list. As a second step, decide where to shop. Maybe the local chain grocery doesn’t have a wide enough selection. In that case, find a few specialty stores where you can purchase select items.

Create a Four-Week Menu

Aim to build a four-week, detailed menu as your first foray into meal planning. Consider rotating about seven main courses during the period, a half-dozen staples, and side dishes like rice, corn, vegetables, etc. Don’t forget desserts and beverages. Some prefer to keep drinks simple, but others include fruit juices, soft drinks, coffee, tea, and vegetable juice.

Build a Shopping List and Estimate Costs

Take a trip to the store or view online prices to come up with a cost estimate for a major shopping trip. It usually makes sense to only purchase as much food as your kitchen, refrigerator, and freezer can handle. There’s no point in buying so much that some things end up spoiling. Determine the grand total for the period. It’s now easy enough to divide that number by 28 to arrive at a per-meal price estimate.

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