I'm not talking about cooking like Emeril. I'm talking about using your "noodle" when it comes to buying food for your family. Have you ever noticed why a lot of dishes at your favorite ethnic restaurants taste similiar. In Italian food, the sauce is the boss. Chinese food has a lot of fresh vegetable, the big difference in each dish is the protein you choose, Beef, Chicken or Pork.
This is by design. The more Items you buy and use more often, you make sure your dishes are always fresh. None of you Ingredients are sitting around too long. Also you can buy in bulk and save money knowing you will use it all relatively soon (waste not, want not). You can adopt this same approach in your home and watch how much money you can save, and eat healthier in the process.
I used the example of a Restaurant in the title of this article as a reference, but we all know how expensive it is to eat out. By Meal Planning during the week, you can phase out going out to eat and save money by eating at home.
You should start by writing all of the meals you plan to make for the week, and look at the Ingredients you plan to use to make those meals. It is important to make sure you are not forcing yourself into buying a lot of "unique" ingredients to make your meals. If you are, you'll wind up spending MORE money cooking at home. Here is an example.
If you wanted to have a BLT sandwich during the week and bought everything you needed to make one, here is the breakdown....
Bacon = $3.99 lb.
Lettuce = $1.99 a head
Tomato = $0.50 one
Bread = $2.99 loaf
The total is $10.50. If you only had two sandwiches during the week, each one wound up cost you $5.25! If you don't find a way to use up the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomatoes, you would have been better off going out for the sandwich. However, If you decided to buy the same ingredients and ADD some others, like some Salad Dressing & Eggs say. Now here is how you create two new meals with the same food.
French Toast & Bacon for Breakfast
Tossed Salad for Lunch
BLT for Dinner
Sounds like a lot of same things you can buy from your local Diner right? Now do you get the point! They all do the same thing and you should to. If you learn to use everything you buy, you can save a lot of money by eating home more often and wasting a lot less food every week when you go shopping.