Meal Prepping on a Budget
Meal prepping and grocery shopping does not have to break the bank! I personally have never spent more than $100 for a week's* worth of meals, and those are weeks when I need to replenish my supply of almond flour, avocado oil, or other things that will last you for at least a couple months. My average grocery receipt clocks in between $50-$70 per week.
*Work week (5 days)
I recently had a conversation with a friend who stated that they enjoyed buying lunch at Whole Foods' Hot Bar where they could fill up a container and get a "cheap" lunch for $10-15. If you do the math, even on the lower end of $10 for a lunch, multiply that by 5 work days and that's $50 in lunches! What about breakfast? Dinner? Snacks?
I also know some people who grab a small sandwich from the deli, and they can spend around $5 for their lunches, but $25 per week on lunches makes you wonder how they get breakfast, dinner, and any snacks in their week without spending close to, if not more than $100 per week.
When I meal prep, I prep EVERYTHING. That means 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners, and 5-10 snacks depending on what I decide to make. If you count only the meals, and split that into the higher range of my average grocery bill ($70), that's $2.80 per meal. It's even lower if you add in the snacks.
Grocery shopping and meal prepping does not have to be expensive. You just have to be smart about it. Never go into the grocery store without a plan; I always plan the meals I want to eat in advance so that I can write out a list of ingredients or items that I will need to buy when I get to the store. I'm the type of person who will spend two hours at the store, wandering up and down every single aisle just to look at the different or new items that I want to try, but I find that I'm less likely to buy by impulse when I already have a cart that's full of the things I need. It doesn't stop me from tossing in a few additional items. And I always buy myself a snack for my drive home from the store.
Another tip is to visit the grocery store when they are having sales or ads. I personally don't do this consistently, but I happen to know that Safeway may or may not have $5 deals on Fridays where you can find a good handful of useful items for $5. I also don't clip coupons, but you sure could to bring down your cost as well. You could definitely take my $50-70 range and easily drop it to $30-50 if you take ads or coupons with you, and shop at stores that advertise even lower prices. My go-to stores are Safeway and Trader Joe's, but I know their prices aren't necessarily the cheapest. You could also switch to store brands rather than name brand products to save a few dollars here and there.
Meal prepping doesn't have to be expensive! If anything, meal prepping can often save you money if you're used to buying some of your meals when you're on the go.
What are some ways that you have tried to save money while eating healthy? Any tips for saving money on your meal prep?