Family standing in front of kitchen cupboards

How to start cooking at home

We recently learned that a whopping 16 to 18 percent of everyday spending goes to dining out, according to JPMorgan Chase’s recent analysis of 15 billion credit and debit card transactions.

So we put together a list of tips to spend less on dining out. But the real savings comes from cutting back on restaurants altogether. We know eating at home and brown bagging your lunch can be a challenge for busy families. But these three tips for cooking at home more frequently will make the preparation much less of a chore: 

1. Make a meal plan for the week

Create a meal plan for the week by planning the menu for all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that will be eaten at home. Planning out the week ahead of time means you won’t be struggling for meal ideas after a long day of work and errands. It will also make it easier to put together a grocery shopping list. As a bonus, sticking to your new shopping list at the grocery store will help you cut back on impulse grocery spending or buying foods you won’t use.

Here’s a sample breakfast meal plan:

Monday: Yogurt and granola

Tuesday: Cereal and banana

Wednesday: Blueberry bran muffin

Thursday: Cottage cheese and peach

Friday: Blueberry bran muffin

Saturday: Pancakes and hashbrowns

Sunday: Yogurt and peach

If you’re looking for inspiration, check out WiseBread’s Month of Frugal Meals.

2. Use weekends for food prep

Once you’ve planned out your meals, take advantage of your days off to prep for the upcoming week to save time. Meal prep can include:

  • Washing and chopping fruits and vegetables
  • Marinating
  • Portioning out healthy snacks
  • Pre-cooking: making hard-boiled eggs, cooking patties for burgers, etc., roasting vegetables for sides, etc.

3. Double the recipe

Next time you make a family favorite, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day. That way you can get meals out of one. Aluminum pans of various sizes can be purchased on the cheap, especially when buying bulk, and make freezing and reheating a snap.

Need motivation to save even more? Let America Saves help you reach your savings and debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save because people with a plan are twice as likely to save successfully. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn’t stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.

Take the pledge.

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