New Year’s resolutions seem to be all anyone talks about this time of year. Why not start out the New Year by saving money! Meal preparation or meal prep is a process of precooking your meals ahead of time so that you spend less time each day cooking meals. Meal preparation is not only an easy way to eat healthy, it can save you time and most importantly it can also help you save money.
Benefits of meal prep
There are a variety of benefits that come from meal prepping. Foremost, it helps you save money grocery shopping and by eating out less. Meal prepping tends to make grocery shopping easier because you already know what ingredients you are going to need for the week. This makes it easier to stick within your budget. Meal prep recipes tend to use items in bulk, making it cheaper for you to buy these items. Having meals already planned out and cooked for the week saves you from going out to eat as much. Eating out can get expensive fast! Going out just 3 times a week for $10 meals already adds up to $30! If you go out 3 times a week for a month it adds up to $120. Meal prep can reduce spending at the grocery stores and restaurants. It will help you save money, whether that be saving it for an emergency or putting it towards bills.
Another benefit of meal prepping is that it can save you time. Setting aside some time to prep and cook your meals for the week can save you time throughout the week. Cutting daily cooking time down allows you to do more of what you want to do.
Finally, meal prepping stimulates healthy eating habits. When you have a set grocery list, it reduces the allure of shopping up and down the aisles. When this happens, you tend to grab that package of Oreos you do not need. When you have a written list of what you need to purchase to meal prep, and you know where all the ingredients are in the store, it reduces the desire to purchase unnecessary items.
How to go about meal prepping
Now that we talked about what meal prepping is and the benefits it could bring, how do you get started? It may seem like a huge undertaking, but the trick is to start out small. If you know you tend to go out to eat more during your lunch break out of convenience, try meal prepping your lunches for the week. There are tons of websites with free recipes that even have premade grocery lists, an example being https://www.allrecipes.com/article/month-easy-5-ingredient-dinners-meal-plan-shopping-lists/. Once you feel comfortable with making one meal a day you can try and expand your meal prepping to 2 meals a day. The more you stick with it the better you’ll get with the process. This will lead you to cut back on your spending both in the grocery store and at restaurants.
Want help creating a spending budget? Powercat Financial is the place for you. Peer counselors are available Money through Friday to help assist you with any financial questions and/or concerns you may have. Appointments are 100% free and confidential. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us today at www.k-state.edu/powercatfinancial!
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