If you've tried every other money saving tip out there and you're still coming up just a little bit short, here's another one...but this one is sure to make a huge difference. Meal planning!
We all know how expensive life can be. Having to pay rent, car payments, bills and groceries can wipe you out. It leaves little room for paying for things like saving up for a semester volunteering abroad.
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For many people meal planning is a little overwhelming so they don't do it. If you're trying to save money, this is a big mistake! Going to the grocery store without a plan ensures you will leave with stuff you don't need (and probably don't even end up using), thus wasting your hard earned money.
Simple Steps To Meal Planning
- Decide how many meals you want to plan
- Collect all the recipes
- Write down ingredients
- Mark off ingredients
- Make a list
- Go shopping
Decide how many meals you want to plan.
Deciding how many meals you want to plan will depend on 2 things: how often you want to go to the grocery store and how long the fresh ingredients you're using will last. A week is most common because most fresh ingredients will last this long. If you have room in your freezer, you can plan for up to 3 months! You will also want to take into account if you will be will not be eating at the house one day.
Collect all the recipes.
Before you start your list, you will want to have all the recipes in front of you. Having them on paper in front is the easiest way, but you can also just have all the tabs pulled up on your computer or your recipe book in front of you with all the pages marked.
Write down all the ingredients.
Get some scratch paper and jot down all the ingredients for all of your recipes so that you can clearly see what you're looking at for a starting point.
Mark off ingredients.
Now that you have all of the ingredients written down, go through and find the duplicates from each recipe and mark them off (leaving only the first one).
Next, go through your kitchen and mark off any ingredients you already have. This is also a good time to check if you have all your pantry staples (eggs, milk butter, bread, any food you eat on a regular basis) that may not be on your list.
Make a list.
Now is the time to make your grocery list. Take your scratch paper with all the ingredients and organize the remaining ingredients into a list. I like to organize my list into sections (freezer, refrigerated, canned, produce and other). You can make up your own sections based off your preferences. This step will come in handy when you get to the grocery store so that you're not running around, having to come back to aisles multiple times, and missing items.
This is the most important step and cannot be skipped if you want a successful shopping trip! EAT before you go. I repeat...EAT before you go. Going to a grocery store on an empty stomach never ends well. Make sure your stomach is full so you don't impulse buy too many Oreos.
Your ready to shop! The most important thing to do while shopping is to stick to your list. Shopping can be tricky with all the yummy treats around you, but keep your money saving goal in mind and stick to your list.
While this tips works great for saving money before your semester, it also helps while volunteering abroad with ILP. Help your ILP group out and show them how to plan (you can even take all the credit for it)!
Make sure you check out the ILP Instagram to follow along our current ILP volunteers' adventures!
Do you want to volunteer abroad in Russia, but you're in school? Check out how you can defer from BYU-Idaho or get BYU school credit! You can also click below to text an ILP representative about more options!