It was Saturday morning, and I was going through my usual meal prep process for the coming week, making a grocery list in parallel. I was just about to head to the grocery store when I realized I had forgotten something. I had forgotten to shop at home first.

Shop At Home First

I had seemingly done everything right in my process. I had planned meals for the entire upcoming week, and then made a list of everything I needed to make those meals. What I should have done first was go through my cupboards and refrigerator to see what I still had on hand.

As is the case with most people, when I examined what food items I had in my home, I found a cupboard and freezer full of food. The fact is, over time we all tend to accumulate a stockpile of good intentioned meals never made. I quickly found the ingredients to make at least two meals for the coming week.

How Much Could You Save?

I estimated incorporating some left over items into next week’s meal plan would reduce my grocery bill by 10 to 15%. Given my weekly grocery budget is $150, if I had similar left over items each week I could potentially save:

  • $15 – $22.50 per week
  • $780- $1170 per year

My estimate might be a little over enthusiastic, as I might not have the same amount of left over items each week. But I do know I tend to over buy groceries because every time my wife and I clean out our cupboards and freezer we find an embarrassing amount of expired and freezer burnt items that we simply throw away. Every item we throw away is money wasted.

How To Shop At Home:

To minimize your grocery bill, do the following while doing meal planning for the following week:

  • Determine what meals you already have on hand
  • Add to plan meals you have some of the ingredients for
  • Now add new meals that require all new ingredients

By doing a little shopping at home before you head to the grocery store you can minimize waste, decrease your grocery spending, and maximize your budget’s efficiency.

How about you, EOD nation, do you take note of what you already have on hand before you go grocery shopping?

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