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WIAW–Meal Prep On a Budget
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I’ll be honest – I may not be a big spender but I’m also not the queen of budgets, especially when it comes to buying food. I tend to “pop in” to the grocery store on my way home from wherever I am a liiiiittle too often. Usually I’m out of something I actually need, like toilet paper, or almond milk, etc. However, once I get in there, it’s like all hell breaks lose and suddenly I’m buying way more than I intended.

Not only did I get into a little bit of a spending frenzy this past month, but I’ve got a few trips coming up in the spring/summer that I need to be saving up for. Because of this, I’m trying to be a lot more serious about my budget and one of the biggest places I know I can cut back is groceries.

Meal Prep On a Budget

  
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So, for today’s WIAW, I’m sharing tips with you on how I planned my meals to eat this week on a budget.

WIAW

If you’re new to What I Ate Wednesday, head on over to Peas and Crayons to see what it’s all about and to see the other participating bloggers.

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1. Meal Plan/Prep.



As a single person living alone, I’m not really big on meal planning. It’s just me, so I don’t really like spending time cooking some nice meal and then eating the leftovers for the rest of the week. I like to wing it. However, I’ve found that planning a few things out (with some wiggle room) is much more budget friendly.

I try to pick one big meal, usually a crock pot meal, that I can make for the week and either eat at dinner or take with me for lunch. Then, I also plan out my breakfasts, which right now is going to be overnight oats since I’ve started taking breakfast to work.

Beyond those two meal options, I also like to have a few classic items on hand to make meals when I’m at home, such as frozen veggies, eggs, sweet potatoes and already grilled or baked chicken.

meal-prep-sunday-1024x1001

2. Use What You Have.

I’m really awful about letting food go bad or throwing things out. On that note, I decided to buy as little as possible this week and use what I already have. It’s pretty amazing what you can come up with when you start digging through your cupboard.

For this week I found some uncooked beans, chicken stock and a can of diced tomatoes. What’s a girl to make? SOUP! I put them all in the crockpot, along with some chopped up carrots (purchased) and boom: 4-5 meals (well, part of a meal, I’d probably add some crackers or half a sweet potato with the soup).

soup

3. Buy in Bulk.

Now I know Whole Foods is a pretty expensive store, however, their bulk section is full of deals. The beans from my soup above? Whole Foods bulk section. You can buy grains, nuts and beans for way less than you would if you purchased them pre-packaged. Just be sure that you think about how much the item is going to weigh and the price per lb. Also, if you’re buying nuts, buy them in “pieces” rather than “whole” because they sell for a lot less per pound.

whole foods

4. Make Your Own.

It’s no secret that I love Quest Bars, however, we all know those cost $$, along with most packaged bars and snacks. The past few weeks I’ve been making my own protein muffins to bring as a snack to work, which I’ve really enjoyed.

protein muffins

They taste good, fill me up and I make them almost entirely with what I already have in my kitchen. The only thing I buy is the banana or canned pumpkin. There are so many great recipes online to make your own granola bars, breads or muffins. Just be weary of ones with lots of add-ins (such as dried fruit, nuts, coconut etc) because those purchases tend to add up if you don’t already have them in your pantry.

 

What’s the hardest thing for you to budget?

How do you save money on groceries?

What’s your favorite store to grocery shop in?



 

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