If you plan to save a part of your salary each month, the chances are higher that you’ll actually tuck something away in a savings account.
If you plan to set aside €50 a month towards a summer holiday, then you will more than likely find yourself soaking up some rays on a beach or mountaintop somewhere.
Everything in life is easier and more economical with planning… and this goes for something as simple as dinner too.
Think of the past week and ask yourself how much money you wasted simply because you didn’t plan for breakfast, lunch or dinner. No milk in the fridge, so you pop out for breakfast.
There’s €3 spent.
No fresh bread in the kitchen, so you swing by the local café for lunch.
That’s another €8 to €10, including a drink and coffee. No meat in the fridge and it’s too late to go to the shops so you stop in at the local restaurant for dinner.
Tot that up to €10 to €15, and all in all before you know it, three meals outside of the house could cost anything upwards of €25.
The first step to putting a halt to such ridiculous spending is to sit down and create a meal plan for the week ahead.
You don’t have to note down the exact amount of tomatoes or grains of rice needed to feed a family of four for a week, rather simply plan out a couple of meals and buy your groceries accordingly.
Once you have figured out your grocery budget for the week, the best way to stick to it is to go to the supermarket with just enough cash; leave the debit and credit cards at home.
This will prevent impulse buying that does not fit into your meal plan.
Remember, being too strict on a meal plan will render mealtimes boring, any maybe even turn you off planning, so leave some space to chop and change meals according to your taste.
Plan to make more time-consuming meals – such as stews and pies – in bulk and then freeze the leftovers and you’ll be left with a future meal already prepared.
The payoff of planning? Calmer, more focused meal preparation, healthier meals, less money spent on last-minute takeout, and more time to actually enjoy meals with your family.