Before I started my journey towards being frugal and saving money to pay down my debt, I never made menus. Every night, I would swing by the grocery store and wander down the aisles until something struck my fancy. There was no planning ahead, and I ended up going out to eat a lot because I simply didn’t have food at home or didn’t know what sounded good.
When I started making a weekly grocery bill, with enough meals to get me to my next paycheck, I found that my grocery expenses were slashed by at least a third. It was amazing, and something that I’d not really thought about before. Now, I always make a menu every week and usually have not only enough food at home but often leftovers for lunch.
Still not convinced? Here are some reasons to make a menu every week:
1. You’re less likely to go out to eat
If you make a menu that you’re actually excited about eating, then you’ll be more likely to want to go home and cook instead of eating out all the time. Making a menu and keeping it where you’ll be able to see them will help with those cravings and stem the stress of having to try and decide what to eat each night.
2. You’ll save money on groceries
If you make your grocery list at the same time as your menu, then you can be sure that you have everything you need and cut down on grocery trips. And every time that you don’t walk into a grocery store is one less opportunity to spend money.
3. You’ll waste less food
I always recommend that you leave one day empty in your menu to force yourself to use leftovers. Additionally, in making a menu, you can plan to use all of what you have before it spoils. Buying tomatoes for a dish? Plan your menu to take advantage of all the tomatoes you have on hand and save on money.
4. You’ll save money on gas
This one is a little more obvious. Having a menu planned out in advance means you’ll have everything you need for each recipe. That, in turn, translates to fewer trips to the grocery store and less gas.
5. You’ll be able to shop deals
If you shop weekly, then you can better take advantage of deals and sales since you’ll be able to plan ahead and use whatever is in season or on sale in your menu planning for the week.