How to Meal Prep on a Budget

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In recent years, when it comes to cooking at home, there have been a few trends. You’ve seen the popularity of meal kit services rise. Instapots are now an extremely popular small kitchen appliance. And it seems that everyone is meal prepping.

There are so many great reasons to meal prep. You might meal prep in order to:

  • Control your portions
  • Watch your calorie intake
  • Improve your cooking skills
  • Have more free time
  • Cut down on food waste
  • Save money

Whatever your reason is for choosing to meal prep, you want to make sure that your budget doesn’t take a hit. After all, one of the reasons people choose to do this is to SAVE money. But how do you do that? 

Don’t worry! There are several easy ways you can save money and prep some tasty meals.

  • Take a Look at Your Overall Budget: Make sure you know what your budget looks like currently. You should have an idea as to what your everyday expenses are – including groceries – and make sure you always stay within that budget. It can be tempting when you read a new recipe to want to run out and buy all of the ingredients, but it can also mean that your wallet takes a big hit.
  • Raid Your Pantry and Freezer: Before you even start meal prepping, it’s essential that you do some meal planning. What exactly do you want to prepare for the week? And then take a good look at your pantry and freezer. You want to use up items that you already have. There is no sense in buying more rice when you have a big bag already.
  • Buy in Bulk: It doesn’t always make sense to buy in bulk, but when it comes to things that are more expensive (like your proteins) or those items that will last a while, you may want to consider it. Keep in mind that you need to have a place to store things (freezer and pantry), and you don’t want it to go bad before you use it.
  • Shop the Sales: If you can be flexible with your menu choices, it’s always a good idea to shop what’s on sale. Check what your local grocery stores are having a sale on for the week and make those items the stars of the show. 
  • Check What’s In Season: Shopping for ingredients that are in season is another key way to save money. For example, when asparagus is not in season, you end up paying a lot more for it. Check your local farmers’ market to see what is being grown locally and incorporate those items into your meals.
  • Create a List of Inexpensive Meals: Some meals are just more expensive to make than others. And while your budget may occasionally allow for you to splurge, it probably not wise to make it a weekly happening. Keep a list of inexpensive meals that you like and rotate through them, so you don’t get bored eating the same things all the time.
  • Share Meals with Someone Else: Do you know someone else who wants to meal prep? Then ask if they’d be interested in sharing meals. It’s a great way to save money and try recipes that others prepare.
  • Use Containers You Already Have: There are lots of fancy meal prep containers out there, but they’re completely unnecessary. You probably have plenty of plastic containers that can hold you meals for the week. Don’t go out and buy brand new containers because you think they are a must-have.

Meal prep doesn’t have to be expensive. You can do it in a cost-effective manner that still allows you to reap all of the benefits and leave your wallet intact. What are you going to prep this week?

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