When we’re meal planning on a budget, we usually just try to find ways to buy sales items or resist going out to eat. However, there are plenty of other ways to save! All you need is a few tools around the kitchen to help you save big time on your grocery store bill:
- Coupon box: store all of your coupons based on their category (food, beverages, toiletries, etc.) in a coupon box. Keep all of your coupons neat and tidy to optimize savings. We recommend keeping your coupons in a plastic filing box, which should cost you only about $5.00.
- Cheap recipes: Tear budget-worthy recipes out of your favorite food magazines and copy inexpensive recipes out of budgeter’s cook book. Then, compile your recipes together in a binder. Next time you want to try something new, all you have to do is open up your custom-made budgeter’s cookbook and flip the pages to see what piques your interest. Use plastic protectors to file your recipes and add plastic dividers to organize your recipes according to category.
- Meal planner with calendar: Always have a written calendar where you can plan an organize your meals. This will help you plan in advance and never skip a beat when it comes to meal planning. You can often find meal planner templates online or, if you prefer, you can make a meal planner out of a kitchen calendar.
- Grocery store checklist: Never leave the house without a printable grocery list. You will be shocked at how much you can save when you actually stick to your list. Make sure to include a grocery shopping list on your fridge, somewhere where your kids or spouse can add things that the family needs. You can find printable grocery lists online, make one your own, or buy one at the store.
- Vacuum sealer: Vacuum sealers or a “Seal-a-Meal,” is the best tool to package your food for the freezer. Freeze your food and use them for leftovers instead of throwing them out or letting them go to waste. Vacuum sealers could cost as little as $28.00, if you do some bargain shopping. Make sure to date all of your food packages, too. Just don’t date your packages with a marker on the actual freezer back. The ink could run through and stain the food. Instead, write the date on the top of the freezer bag, where the ink won’t touch the food, or on a label.
- Separate, outdoor freezer: You can always get an extra freezer for your garage if you can’t fit all of your leftovers and ice creams in your current freezer. A compact fridge could cost you as little as $100.00, while larger models will be a bit pricier.
Having tools around the house that help you save is a critical part of the budgeting process. At the very least, make sure you have meal planning tools and a coupon box to help you stay organized. Your investments will pay off!