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“Does meal prepping save money?”
If you’re anything like me, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this at some point. You know you eat out more than you should and that it’s digging a while in your wallet.
Packing a lunch and making your own coffee could definitely save you money, but is it really worth the effort?
Would it actually save you enough money to be worth it?
The answer is a rock-solid “YES!”
Every time I sit down with friends to help them put together a budget, the first place we look at is their food spending. The reality is that most people are spending far more than they think they are. The majority is spent eating out.
I don’t even try to convince friends to stop celebrating special occasions–why should they? But… if they could just stop buying takeout every other night for dinner they could probably save hundreds every single year.
I truly believe that meal prepping is one of most life-changing habits to step on the gas and fast track your way to building your savings.
- Does Meal Prepping Save Money?
- How Meal Prepping Can Help You Save Money
- Foods / Ideas for Meal Prepping
- Tips For Meal Prepping To Save Money
- Final Thoughts On Does Meal Prepping Save Money?
Does Meal Prepping Save Money?
Nothing shocks me more than when I read articles or see statistics on the financial life of the average American. The amount of debt, the lack of retirement savings, and the financial choices that people make blow my mind. And when we look at what the average person spends on food, it’s no wonder that the typical person has so many financial problems.
In fact, when it comes to food, the idea of average is so far off the tracks that it is insane.
Did you know that…
- The average household throws away $640 of food each year
- The average household spends $3,008 annually – on eating out.
Maybe those numbers don’t jump off the screen at you as significant, but track with me as I walk through them.
If you just considered eating your food instead of throwing it away, you’d be saving yourself $640….each and every single year.
This may not seem like a big number in the grand scheme of things, but imagine what $640 each year could do for your retirement savings.
Here are some resources that might help you find some great recipes to meal prep:
- 40 Easy One Pot Meals to Rock your Sunday Meal Prep
- 54 Easy Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss
- 40 Healthy Breakfast Meal Prep Ideas To Kickstart Your Day
How Meal Prepping Can Help You Save Money
Prepping your meals in advance will save you both time and money. Here are just a few ways that prep can help:
Going out to dinner can be expensive, especially if you don’t feel like cooking. A quick meal at Chipotle or ordering takeout will set your budget even more! You could use the money spent on one dinner for food that lasts until tomorrow morning.
Buying Just What You Need
You won’t need to buy a ton of random ingredients for different meals each night. Consider prepping the chicken to use all week or browning ground beef for 3-4 other meals.
With a little bit of meal planning (these two things go hand in hand), you will know what you’re cooking, how much you need of each item, and why you’re intentionally spending the money grocery shopping for it – careful not to overspend.
Throwing Away Money No Longer Happens
Many times we buy groceries that we don’t end up using. Most of us have gone through the refrigerator throwing away stuff we didn’t end up eating. We either didn’t know what to do with it, or more than likely forgot about it.
Meal prepping can help you avoid this by planning ahead and only buying what you need for the week, and it will save on food waste. Nobody likes to throw away food that’s gone bad in the fridge.
Save Money On Healthcare
If you’re meal prepping and have a meal plan, you’re less likely to make unhealthy choices when you’re hungry.
Knowing what you’re going to eat ahead of time and having it available and ready in 5 minutes will help sneak in those healthier and more nutritious options, ensuring you get your veggies in.
Being at a healthy weight and putting nutritious foods into your body can save you money on doctor’s visits and expensive health problems in the future.
Foods / Ideas for Meal Prepping
Fruits and Vegetables
Adequately clean and store all your fruits and vegetables. Chop the ones that need chopping and put them into individual containers if you’re planning to grab them.
Marinating meats is a great way to prepare your dinners ahead of time. Making your simple marinades ahead of time is another way meal prepping saves money.
Cook Rice and Pasta
Instant pots are a fast way to cook rice and pasta, so it’s ready to reheat and eat in minutes. If you’re having marinated sweet and sour chicken this week, having the rice done and ready is a game-changer. We’ll sometimes meal prep pasta in a big batch and eat it all week.
Pre Cook Proteins
Precook all proteins. Breakfast egg cups, bacon, sausage, and hardboiled eggs are all things that store well in the refrigerator and that you can grab and go on your way out the door for work or school.
Cooking chicken and beef ahead of time to add to stir-fries, salads, and pasta dishes is the most popular meal prepping tip. High protein meal prep ideas will keep you full and eating healthy.
Bake and Prep Snacks
Snacks and baked goods can be made healthier when made in your kitchen. Save time and money by cooking the cookies, granola bars, and muffins on meal prep day.
Consider portioning out your fruits and veggies to grab as snacks, as stated above. Pair with a nut butter or hummus, and it’s a well-rounded, healthy nibble.
Tips For Meal Prepping To Save Money
Everyone can benefit from a few tips that we’ve come up with to show you how meal prepping on a budget can work. Remember, these tips are something you can do over time and afford it.
When it comes to saving money, meal planning is hard to beat. You will have home-cooked meals that are healthier and cheaper than eating out, but you’ll also save on groceries.
You can get started with what’s already in your kitchen most of the time.
Having the proper kitchen tools can speed things up. Once you get into a groove, you’ll be able to breeze right through your day.
You can find items like air fryers, electric pressure cookers, and slow cookers on sale for a manageable price. You don’t have to spend a fortune on these things to get one that makes life easier.
A good knife is a must. There’s a lot of chopping when it comes to meal prep. Having a proper knife and cutting surface will make this job more accessible and enjoyable.
A good sheet pan can cook a full, healthy meal without dirtying more than one.
Have your recipes handy on meal prep day. You can find some great recipes on this site, and most of your favorites will also work (with a slight modification for many).
If you’re the kind to print them out and store them in a binder, pull out the ones you want.
Supporting Tools For Meal Prepping On A Budget
Have glass containers with good lids, aluminum foil, mason jars, and reusable zip bags for storage.
It’s a bummer when you eat your gorgeous green salad, and the veggies are soft and have lost all characteristics of crisp and fresh. Mason jars work great for salads. Storing your meals is as important as making them.
Final Thoughts On Does Meal Prepping Save Money?
Meal prepping can be easy to save money, save so much time, and eat healthier. We’ve given you a few meal prep tips that will help you get started on it, including some kitchen tools and recipes for meal preppers on the go.
It can all be overwhelming and daunting at first, but if you just think about what meals your family loves and start with one or two meals for the week, it will get easier. We all want to find extra cash in our bank account for things we love and want to do; meal prepping saves money.
Richmond Howard started Meal Prepify in 2019 and has helped over a million people learn how to meal prep, get better at meal planning, and create a kitchen they love to use. He’s an avid home chef and loves to bbq, grill out, and make awesome food for family and friends. He’s been featured on MSN, Renaissance Periodization, and Good Financial Cents.