I'm sitting here thinking of all the things I want to do with my $2600...like go on an extravagant trip or a massive shopping spree. But in reality, that extra cash will go towards something grownup like tuition or a down payment on a house - still good things, but a $2600 trip to somewhere exotic like Fiji or Bora Bora just seems so much dreamier!
Back in Ontario, Maeghan and I were spending about $120 a week on groceries for the two of us. We always bought food to make breakfast at home each morning, snacks for lunches, and supplies to make a large dinner each night so we would have leftovers for our lunches. Even though our fridge was always stocked with fresh ingredients just waiting to be turned into a delicious meal, each night I always found myself scouring Pinterest for dinner inspiration while staring into the fridge and whining, "we have no food". Not only did this waste endless hours of my time, but each week we would end up spending more on food by running out to get "just one ingredient" - paying a premium price for it at a corner store and ending up coming home with things we didn't need - as well as wasting food that went bad as it never seemed tasty enough to be included in that week's meals. Since moving to British Columbia (where everything is significantly more expensive), we've been spending just $70 a week on groceries and our food wastage has decreased significantly.
How, you ask? One simple change: we started meal planning.
Each Saturday, while enjoying my morning coffee, I get out my computer and a pen and paper. I spend the next 15-20 minutes compiling a list of seven different meals as well as all of the ingredients needed for those meals. To save time, whenever I see a recipe or meal idea I cut it out or Pin the link for later. Come Saturday, I can look back on those recipes to quickly build my list without repeating any meals. From the ingredient list, I make a shopping list of all of the items I don’t have in my pantry, and then add to it any extras we’ll need for breakfast and snacks. At the grocery store, I’m in and out in less than 30 minutes with only the items on my list (and maybe an extra treat since it is the weekend after all) and I’ve spent only $70 to feed two people three meals a day for seven days!
When you break down the numbers, the savings will blow your mind!
$120 multiplied by the 52 weeks there are in a year is $6240 that we were spending on groceries (with so much of it going in the trash)! Our now $70 multiplied by 52 weeks is $3640.
The original $6240 we were spending, minus the $3640 we spend now, leaves us with $2600 in SAVINGS.
The benefits of meal planning speak for themselves; I have more of my evenings back since I never have to wonder what to cook each night, I spend significantly less time in the grocery store, our food wastage has nearly stopped, and we have an extra $2600 a year in the bank! Now…what snack should I bake tonight?