Are you trying to save more money, but struggling with your grocery budget? One of the simple things you can do, is simplify your menu. I have decided to simplify our meals and it has helped me a lot to be able to get through the weeks on a tight budget. I’ll share some of the things I implemented to help you save money in your grocery budget.
Have specific meal days
We are a fan of Italian food, but having Italian too often will make your meals boring. So what we do, is have special meal days in which we have a certain type of food. This is not something I came up with, but it’s actually something that used to happen all the time when my grandparents were young. This is what I try to stick to each week. If a week looks different it’s no big deal, but to me it’s a good guideline to follow.
Monday – Italian (often vegetarian)
Tuesday – Potatoes, veggies and some meat
Wednesday – Easy dinner (this can be an easy recipe, or just left overs)
Thursday – vegetarian meal
Friday – Mexican
Saturday – Italian
Sunday – Easy dinner (the same goes for Wednesday)
So, as you can see I don’t have specific meals in mind. I just choose whatever I feel like or whatever I have left in my pantry. But sticking to a few cuisines makes it easier to have stock in your pantry. Especially if you don’t have a big pantry!
Add two meatless days
Okay, I have to be honest and tell you beforehand that my husband did not like this idea! He is a meat eater and would rather eat two pieces of meat instead of one. But having less meat during the week will help your budget and it doesn’t have to be hard.
I managed to add two meatless days into our diet. If you have a husband like me, you just need to be a little more creative. When we eat Italian, I can easily make it vegetarian. I just do a lasagna without meat and add some extra veggies and cheese.
Another great way to eat vegetarian is having a soup. I love eating vegetable soup, or tomato soup and you do not have to add meat to it! Just have some bread on the side and you have a great meal!
Try to be creative and try new recipes! I am also trying to incorporate some more vegan into our diet, but that is a little trickier for us. When there is no meat in the recipe my hubby wants more cheese, which is obviously not vegan. But I love to look for recipes and look through my cookbooks to find new interesting meals!
Don’t choose recipes with over 15 or very special ingredients
I have fallen into this trap a bunch of times! I wanted to make something different and decided to go with a particular recipe (I can’t even remember what it was). On the list were herbs I had never heard of and vegetables I had to go to four different stores for. The vegetables were more expensive, because they were ‘exotic’ and the herbs were only sold in little containers, so I still have a lot of it left.
Take it from me, it’s not worth it! If you like to try new or special things, you can choose a restaurant that has those types of food. We never eat Asian for example, so whenever we go out to eat we like to try new things in Asian restaurants. If we love the dish, I try to recreate it at home.
If you do want to make it at home, try to look for recipes with little ingredients. That way you can also keep the costs down.
You could also try to stick to one particular type of food. Make 2018 the year in which you experiment with Thai food, or where you try to find vegan recipes once a week. When you need to buy a particular herb, you are more likely to use it again when you try Thai for a year.
Make more and eat left overs
This is probably my favourite. I have never been a big fan of left overs, but now I do! It’s so easy to just add a little more pasta and sauce and have another batch of the spaghetti for another day that week. It’s cheaper and saves you a lot of time. You can probably double every recipe, but we mostly do this with the Italian and Mexican foods.
What I love to do is the following. We have wraps on a Friday and I make a lot of filling. The filling we have left over will be added to nachos or tacos a few days later. I love that I can make two different meals with the same base ingredients. When I don’t have enough left, I can always add an extra vegetable or a can of corn.
These are some of the things we did to simplify our meals and have variety and simplicity at the same time. Let me know in the comments what you like to do to keep your dinners easy and simple! I’d love to hear from you!