It’s a crazy world out there these days, and one of the undeniable side effects of current world events is the rising costs of essentials like gas and food. Fewer restaurant meals and take-out are the most obvious ways to cut food costs, but short of switching to a diet of rice and beans or devoting your time to coupon-cutting and sales chasing, figuring out how to save money on groceries can be overwhelming.
Leave it to us, the meal planning experts! In our professional experience, we know that using a good meal planning app is guaranteed to save you money. In fact, meal planning is the easiest way to cut your food bill in half. See why in this post. Beyond having a good plan, the number one way to save money on groceries is about getting really smart and savvy about leftovers.
Leftovers? Before you dismiss this with a groan and a yawn, read on…
When you plan for leftovers, not only is it one less meal you’re cooking, but it’s also fewer groceries you’re buying. Saving money in the grocery department means more money to do other things, like enjoy a nice meal out or a family date to the movies. Not to mention, fewer trips to the grocery store means saving money on gas too.
How to save money on groceries with leftovers
Cook once eat twice
If you’re not already planning for leftovers as part of your week, just simply doubling the portions you cook to eat later is going to be a game-changer for you. On busy days, if you don’t already have food prepped, mealtime is likely to turn into a fast-food run or an expensive restaurant meal. Both of these can be avoided when you plan to eat leftovers instead.
Don’t love the idea of eating the same thing twice? Read on…
Make leftovers more exciting so they get eaten
Dinner leftovers often sound perfect for tomorrow’s lunches; however, they can be enjoyed any time of the day. Why not heat up last night’s steak or stir fry with fried eggs for breakfast? There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy your leftovers. Check out some of our favorite ways to turn easy healthy dinner recipes into lunch the next day.
And in many cases, your leftovers can be used to create entirely new dinners too. This is especially important for folks who don’t enjoy eating the same thing on repeat. We are absolutely obsessed with simple protein dinners (roast chicken, pot roasts, slow cooker meats) that can be reimagined into curries, stews, salads, tacos, and more. Really the options are endless. Check out this busy mom meal plan for inspiration.
By planning to use leftovers wisely you will be minimizing the amount of food you need to buy and making sure nothing goes to waste – talk about saving money on groceries!
Spend less time in the kitchen
There’s no denying the saying “time is money”. By getting efficient with the time you spend in the kitchen, you’ll have more hours in your week to focus on your work and other things you love to do.
Having a good plan – with leftovers – is your key to time freedom. Instead of all the time you would spend staring in an empty fridge, planning for your next meal, shopping – again, prepping, and cooking – you are either reheating last night’s delicious dinner (find the best methods here) or taking mere minutes to whip up your leftovers into a new dish.
Does Real Plans help with leftovers?
Why yes we do! Our meal planning solutions offer something that no one else does – the ability to plan for leftovers.
With our meal planning app you can add as many portions as you’d like of leftovers to the recipes in your meal plan to ensure there will be enough remaining for future meals. If you are planning with our calendar, you can even schedule them to eat on specific days.
By thinking ahead for leftovers and using them wisely, you’ll instantly notice a change in how long it takes you to plan, cook, and prepare meals for later.
More ways to save money on groceries
So now you know about the number one way to save money on groceries to cut food costs, here are some other things to consider to reduce your shopping bill:
- Shop alone, with a list, and never on an empty stomach so you’re less tempted to buy things you don’t need
- Skip pre-prepped food like shredded cheese and pre-cut carrots
- Avoid sales/coupons unless it’s for items that you need and will use before they go bad
- Plan based on what you already have (check out Real Plan’s pantry feature!)
- Buy generic pantry ingredients (usually on the lower shelves by the name brand items)
- Eat with the season because out-of-season produce and seafood are significantly more expensive
- Fill up with grains or legumes (unless you have food sensitivities that won’t allow for this)
- Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – the number one way to cut food costs is to stick with a plan. Check out Real Plans to see how we can help!