Because there are ways to treat both yourself and your bank account well.
This one isn't new, but there is a reason why it's the go-to method for countless households. Going to the supermarket without an idea of what you want to buy will inevitably lead to waste and unnecessary expenses. Plan your week, make a list, stick to it.
Find printable grocery lists here.
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You can use Parmesan grind for a flavorful broth or make a delicious salad using broccoli stalks. Sometimes being more creative in your cooking and willing to try new things also means being less wasteful and saving money.
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This way, you can buy the exact quantity you want and you don't have to pay for a brand or a fancy package. (Bonus point: If you're bringing your own containers, you're one step closer to a zero-waste lifestyle.)
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Sure, it's less spontaneous than deciding where and what to eat at the last minute, but that way you won't end up spending a ton of money in delivery and take-out. So, plan ahead, make sure you use the same ingredients several times during the week so they don't go to waste, and stick to your menu.
Here's a 7-day meal plan that's doable and won't cost you more than $3.50 per meal.
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Watch out for the sales at your local store. For instance, if they're having a sale on meat, fill your freezer now so you don't have to buy any meat in the next couple of months.
And here are some recipes you can make once and freeze all winter.
Two organic chicken breasts at my local NY store cost at least $9. A whole organic chicken is around $15 and makes for much more meat and more dinner options throughout the week.
When you buy a whole chicken, you can go about it two ways: Either debone the raw chicken, place the different cuts in ziplock bags, place what you'll eat within a few days in the fridge, and freeze the rest for later. Or, you can roast a whole chicken and use different cuts throughout the next 3-4 days.
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Rotisserie chickens are sometimes cheaper than raw ones and also very low-effort.
Find a whole week worth of recipes using rotisserie chicken, here.
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If you have a slow cooker, it'll become your best friend, otherwise a big pot will do. Make a big batch of stew or soup on Sunday and eat the leftovers within the next three, four days (or freeze what you won't eat). If you're dreading the monotony of eating the same thing over and over again, try to get creative with the leftovers: Use your leftover chili to make a sloppy joe, vary the toppings on your cauliflower soup, or switch up what sides you serve your pulled pork with.
Find some freezer friendly recipes here.
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Not everyone has the space, patience, and access to sunlight needed to grow their own herbs. But considering how pricey herbs can be, if you can grow them then it's really worth the investment. And some herbs, like chives, mint, or basil, are very easy to grow.
Learn more about growing your own herbs here.
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A journal, a notebook, or an excel sheet… it doesn't matter. As long as you start tracking what you spend to see what you should cut back on. You might realize that you spend over $100 a month in Starbucks coffee and start making your own instead.
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Spices cost A LOT, but they're also the best way to turn even the most boring dish into an explosion of flavor. If there's a spice store near you, check it out and buy spices there. They're usually cheaper than in a grocery store and come in larger quantities. (You can also buy spices online in specialized stores or on Amazon).
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If you're buying pre-cut veggies and fruits, you're probably throwing your money down the drain. Buy whole, cut and prep yourself, and use ziplock bags if you don't want to eat everything in one go. It may be a little more effort but it'll make for more food for less money (and less plastic waste!).
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