July is National Savings Month for South Africans. The campaign was set out by the South African Savings Institute (SASI) to improve the savings culture of all South Africans. Anyone interested in some fun money saving challenges that actually work? Join us for a weekly challenge over the month of July… You in?
With ever rising prices on just about everything we need, most of us can’t afford to save money. But we can certainly do things that might keep more ka-ching in our pockets. For the next four weeks we challenge you to try a different saving hack every week. Get ready to boost your saving skills!
Challenge 3 – Plan your meals for a Week
Most of us are in the habit of purchasing our lunch meals, instead of preparing them in advance. Although this is more convenient, it is also more expensive.
If you’ve ever wondered where you could save a bit more, this is it.
Creating a meal plan is kind of like a food budget. You decide upfront what you’re eating for breakfast lunch and dinner. And the best thing of all, you can do whatever you like.
Find out how planning your meals upfront can make mealtimes more exciting while satisfying your budget.
Start saving time
Image walking into the kitchen knowing exactly what’s cracking. You open the fridge, start prepping and before you know it, you’re on the stove and cooking dinner. Think about it, you don’t have to stop at the grocery store on your way home. And no more impromptu brainstorming sessions with an open fridge and very sad looking pantry.
You can take this to the next level by prepping your lunch meals as well. If you have leftovers, why not finish that the next day? Or prepare your lunch meals the night before and save some time in the morning.
Start saving money
Before hitting the shops to buy your groceries for the week, check out some recipes online to help you make a list of what you need. Making a list beforehand will prevent over cooking that grocery list. You’ll stay in budget and purchase only what you need. That means you’ll actually end up using everything you buy and won’t have to throw anything away.
Challenge accepted? Perfect!
Here’s a step-by-step guide that will help come up with your meal plan.
- Get a calendar, a notepad and a pen and head to the kitchen (or if you want, use your phone instead).
- Decide when you’ll be doing grocery shopping. This this is the start of your meal plan week.
- Revise your budget to see how much you can spend on groceries per week. For a quick calculation take your total monthly grocery budget and divide it by four.
- Before getting excited about what to buy, have look at what you have first. Open the pantry, fridge and freezer and make a list of things that you could use in the upcoming week. Ideally you would want to use items that might expire soon.
- Now that you know what you’re working with, start looking at recipes. Go check out what you can find online or use your favourite recipe book. Try find recipes that include some of the items that you already have.
- Once you have your recipes down and know what you want to make every day. Check in with housemates or family members to see who’s out with friends or on date night. This will help you prepare your meals more effectively and prevent food going to waste.
- Get that notebook out and jot down your meals for each day. Here’s what it should look like.
- Now that you know what you have in the kitchen, make a list of all the items you need to purchase from the grocery store.
- Go shop, get back home, unpack the goods and loath in the knowledge that you just did a very good thing.
Don’t forget the basics
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of creating your first meal plan. But don’t end up forgetting about the basics.
So here are a few reminders just to keep you on track. Keep your breakfast, lunch and snacks on rotation. That means, once they’re done, stock up. But try to replace your lunch meals with leftover where possible.
You won’t be able to finish everything you make all the time, so plan ahead for leftovers as you go and cut down on food waste. And if you won’t be able to eat the leftovers before they go off, store it in the freezer and save it for a better day.
Satisfy your budget
Changing the way you cook might seem like a silly way to start saving. But every penny saved is a penny earned. And the more you put away, the better. You could be spending what you’ve saved on the things that you actually need. Let’s start getting in the habit of being a part of a savings culture.
We would love to hear how your weekly challenge went! Drop us a message on Facebook and share your success with us and others!
Pssst… Don’t forget to subscribe for our next challenge!