Planning a weekly menu is one of the easiest ways to save on your regular grocery bill. Considering that food is an ongoing expenditure in any family, it becomes important to invest the energy required to save what you can, all the while ensuring your family eats healthy and varied meals. Simply put: it all comes down to planning.
More specifically, it comes down to planning a weekly menu. In addition to cutting costs, the time taken once per week to plan your meals will save a monumental amount of stress throughout the week. I know for me, weekly menus are part of my basic survival guide. I have a difficult time whipping something up on a whim, but given the assurance that I have all of the ingredients and a recipe to match is a guarantee for success. Can you picture it? Commuting home from work without worrying about what you will cook for dinner, nor what ingredients you actually have on hand? Yes, this idealized version of dinner can become a reality if you are ready do a bit of planning.
And, no need to limit the planning to dinners. Planning lunches (the children’s and your own) can save an annual fortune, allowing you to steer clear of cafeterias or take-out food – not to mention the health benefits of a more consistent diet.
Most people who already plan their weekly menus, do so first and then shop for the ingredients. Why not go one step further by planning your menus around the advertised sales in the weekly flyers? Is chicken breast on sale? Great! Guess chicken will be a mainstay of the family meals that week. How about eggplant? Stock up and make ratatouille in bulk for lunches and to freeze for a later date. In addition to any sales, buying seasonal local produce will help reduce grocery costs, while you benefit from fresher taste and richer nutrients.
Still willing to take it one step further? Identify one grocery store that will price-match and show up with all promotional coupons from other grocery stores so that they can honour their promise. This practice eliminates the need to travel to five different supermarkets.
Depending on the size of your family and your food consumption, it may even be worth investing in a deep freezer to maximize on sale items. A word of warning however: ensure that the freezer is energy-efficient and modest in size to avoid forgetting food buried at the bottom – only to be wasted months later when you discover the freezer-burnt steak that now needs to be marinated for days before it can be digested by anybody. There is an important difference between saving and wasting.
Looking for new meal ideas for your menu? Refer to the recipe section of this website or visit your local library for the opportunity to test new cookbooks.
Are you organizing an affordable event in Ottawa or the surrounding areas? If you would like to have it added to the events calendar, please contact me!
The advice given on this blog is a reflection of my experience and opinion only. I am not a financial advisor. Advice by trained professionals should always be sought in place of any recommendations or information provided herein.
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