|Written by Bill Hanks|
A great way to organize your food consumption, save money and eat healthy is to plan your meals for a month. ¬†You can use this method to improve your monthly budget as well. ¬†Many families get paid monthly or bi-monthly. ¬†Working your menu within this budget is an excellent way to save money and eat well.
Step One; ¬†Make out your monthly menu. ¬†Use a large block calender just for meals. ¬†Write what you would like for each meal. ¬†Always try to have something different. ¬†Substitute a healthy cuisine for yourself and family. ¬†For each meal, write the food items you need for every meal you plan.
Step Two; ¬†Examine your food items in your daily menu. ¬†Where can you purchase each item cheaper? ¬†Can you find coupons for these items? ¬†Write the cost out to the side of each item you need. ¬†Now think to yourself. ¬†Where can I save money on purchasing this item?
Step Three; Snack plan and last minute substitutions. ¬†No matter on well you plan your meal, there will be times you have to make adjustments. ¬†Have a quick serve meal that will get you through the meal. ¬†Have some simple evening snacks. ¬†Items like yogurt, fresh fruit and veggies with a low cal dip can go a long way for an evening snack.
Step Four; ¬†Wrap and store all leftovers. ¬†Put leftovers to use as soon as possible. ¬†Leftovers are great for lunch the ext day. ¬†Many leftovers can be combined with the main meal. ¬†It just takes some simple planning.
Step Five; ¬†Don't get caught up in brand names. ¬†Your goal is to stick to your menu. ¬†There is no difference in many items except for their name.
Step Six; ¬†Avoid eating out. ¬†If you like to eat out, write the date and place into your master menu. ¬†Set aside the expense you will need to eat out. ¬†However, it still needs to be included in your food budget for the month. ¬†Be true to yourself.
Step Seven; ¬†Keep a copy of your menu and your expenses. ¬†You will use these the next month. ¬†Try to cut costs while adding to your menu the next month. ¬†Check newspaper ads for deals and coupons the following month.
Finally; ¬†Stick to your plan. ¬†Do not deviate from it. ¬†At the end of the month review your progress and make adjustments to your budget. ¬†If you save extra money doing this, place it in a special saving account. ¬†You will be amazed at how much extra money you can grow.