Did you know that it’s almost five times more expensive to order delivery from a restaurant than it is to cook your meals at home? That’s right!
If you want to save money, you don’t just seek the best product deals; you also look to save a few bucks on your food items. After all, that startling fact from a Forbes report might not register as an issue.
However, if you are among the majority of Americans who can’t afford such a costly habit, you should seriously consider cooking your meals instead of eating out.
How Much You Can Save Every Week by Eating in
As long as restaurants will continue hiking food prices to keep up with rising rent and labor costs, eating out will always be expensive for you. As CNBC points out, the average household spends an average of $3,008 annually on eating out.
Wondering how much you spend alone? Well, let’s do the math. If you took your lunch from a fast-food restaurant every day, you’d likely spend around $6 per day, which equates to $30 if you eat out for five days a week. If you are one of those who tip religiously, then expect to spend even more than that.
Conversely, most lunches you can prepare at home can cost you a measly $2, which is around $10 a week. Preparing your meals, therefore, saves you $20 a week or $960 per year.
Besides saving on a substantial amount of money, you also get to eat much healthier meals because you’re the one to decide what goes into it.
5 Budget-Friendly Meal Prep Ideas – Tips and Tricks!
Here are our five budget-friendly meal prep ideas that will help you to spend less:
1. Only buy what you need
You don’t want to spend your money on food items that you already have at home. Before heading to the grocery store or ordering groceries online, make sure to check your fridge, freezer, or pantry to see what you already have on hand.
You may be surprised that you have not used the food items you have even once. Therefore, it’s best to take inventory so that you can only buy those items that you need and don’t have.
Another way to shop smart is only to buy enough for the week. The last thing you want is to buy too much of something, only to end up with an almost-full container of something that you didn’t love. Also, be sure to check the expiry date to ensure that your food items will not go bad.
2. Prepare meals in advance
It’s easier and economical to prepare identical meals in large quantities at once compared to preparing the same meal individually a bunch of times.
It becomes easier to prepare meals in advance because you can easily reheat the food later on when you need them. It becomes cheaper to prepare large quantities of meals at once because you can buy ingredients in bulk.
3. Use leftover food
Unlike in restaurants where you can’t make good use of leftover food, eating from home lets you keep your leftover food and eat it later without any fear.
Whenever you have leftover food, be sure to label it, so you can keep track of how long it will stay in your freezer or fridge. You can then use the leftover food to create other dishes. This will not only help to minimize food prep time, but it will also help you to minimize food wastage.
4. Don’t over serve-food
The idea behind eating home-cooked meals instead of eating out is to save. If most of the food that you cook at home keeps ending up in the trash can, then all your time and effort will be for nothing.
The best thing to do is to serve just enough portions of food to ensure that no food will be wasted. Using small-sized plates can help you to keep serving sizes in check.
5. Grow your vegetables
Cooking your meals using vegetables you’ve bought is healthy, and cooking your meals using vegetables you’ve grown yourself is even healthier. Furthermore, growing your vegetables helps you save money as you won’t have to spend money on veggies.
There are many meal prep ideas that can help you save money on food and spend those bucks on other items to make your home living comfortable. The key message is that if you prepare and cook your food yourself, you’ll manage to cut down your food spending considerably.