Is meal prepping expensive? Learn why cooking in advance will save you time and money.
Is meal prepping expensive? It doesn’t have to be. More people than ever live paycheck to paycheck. It’s crucial to cut back spending wherever possible if you want to stay afloat. But can you do that by cooking your entire weekly menu at once? Here’s why your wallet will thank you for planning all of your meals in advance.
What Is Meal Prepping?
Think about how many times your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” Now imagine if you never had to answer that annoying question again. Meal prepping will do that just. This method of planning involves deciding upon a weekly menu and cooking it all at once. Many die-hard followers do this on the weekend, hence the rise of the “Meal Prep Sunday” fad.
Meal prepping guarantees you’ll have all of your meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—packaged and ready to go. Just grab your food, heat it up, and serve. It’s that easy! Freeze any leftovers until you can to consume them, and you’ll never have to worry about weeknight cooking again. Plus, prepping is a money-saver. It’s a win-win!
Buying in Bulk Is Cheaper
How often do you head to the grocery store? While you probably try to go shopping as little as possible, you never know when you may run out of a critical ingredient for your infamous lasagna. Too many people stop by the grocery store to pick up filler items during the week. They don’t think twice about how much they spend because their only goal is to get dinner on the table.
But these unplanned shopping excursions may cost you a pretty penny. Even if you just pick up a few items, you’re less likely to clip coupons. There’s also a good chance you won’t have time to compare sale prices. Instead, you pay the marked price without giving it a second thought.
However, if you plan all your meals for the week, you can eliminate these last-minute trips. Buying ingredients in bulk often costs less than picking up items throughout the week. That’s why places like Costco, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and Sam’s Club are so popular with penny pinchers—you can save more money with fewer trips!
Sure, your grand total for a large shopping trip will be higher than if you just buy two items, but it will save you in the long run. Most retailers offer competitive pricing for bulk items—and you won’t run out of ingredients for a while.
Eliminate Unnecessary Food Waste
Think about how much uneaten, expired food you throw away each month. You might as well toss a wad of cash into the garbage can too—it’s the same thing. Food waste is a huge problem in this country, and almost everyone is guilty to an extent.
Prepping all your meals, however, will help reduce how much food waste you create. Why do you throw away food? Maybe you bought avocados to make tacos, but then you forget about them. Since you didn’t plan a set menu for the week, you pushed this perishable ingredient to the side. By the time you remembered, your avocados were rotten.
Coming up with a set menu every week ensures you use the ingredients you have on hand. You won’t feel the urge to buy things on a whim, and you’ll be able to eat everything before it goes bad. Eating all the food you buy feels pretty good, and it will help you stay on budget.
The True Cost of Eating Out vs. Is Meal Prepping Expensive?
Picture this scenario: It’s 7 pm, and dinner isn’t ready. You can hear the kids whining and screaming from the other room. You don’t have enough ingredients to whip up a meal, so you decide to go out to eat instead.
Sure, your kids are happy, but what about your bank account? Whether you head to a sit-down restaurant or pick up fast food, eating out is expensive. An average restaurant meal will cost you about five times more per person than eating at home. If you choose to have something delivered, you’ll have to fork over outrageous delivery fees and tip the driver. Now, imagine if you did that once or twice a week.
Instead of paying $10 per person at a restaurant, you can create delicious meals that cost $2 or less by prepping. It would cost you around $40 for your family of four to dine out once. Or you could take that $40 and prep 20 meals that only take a few minutes to reheat. Which option will your wallet like better?
The Hidden Savings of Prepping
How far away is your nearest grocery store or favorite fast food restaurant? Every time you drive your car, you use gas. Since meal prepping will reduce how often you head out for food, you won’t need to fill up your tank as frequently. It will also prevent wear and tear on your vehicle. Besides, driving your car less is better for the environment.
Think you spend too much on utilities? You can lower your energy bill by cooking a week’s worth of food at once. The oven requires a lot of energy to preheat. Reheating in the microwave uses nearly 80-percent less energy. Cooking can also heat up the rest of your home, making your air conditioner work overtime. You may even find yourself running the dishwasher less often. Preparing all your meals at once will help you cut back on how much energy you consume.
Save on Your Food Budget without Compromising on Taste
Planning a weekly menu doesn’t mean giving up your favorite meals. If anything, this money-saving hack will let you be more creative in the kitchen. Prepping is the perfect time to try out new recipes or experience with exotic flavors. You’ll transform from a novice cook to a master chef in no time at all—and without going over budget.
Imagine never worrying about feeding your family during the week again. Even if you have a tight budget, you can prepare healthy, delicious meals in advance. Is meal prepping expensive? Not when you do it right. Visit your nearest Title Tree store for more tips on spending less in the kitchen – or if you need a little help making ends meet right about now.