2 years ago
AlloBaber
in English · 4,947 Views
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Meal Planning: Money-Saving Miracle or Too Much Effort?
I just moved to New York City, where the cost of living is through the roof. They say if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, and that might just be true – or at least, as far as budgeting is concerned! I’ve got less wiggle room in my finances than ever before, and it’s an intimidating prospect. I want to be able to go out and have fun with friends, get drinks occasionally, go to concerts once in a while, all that good stuff, but most importantly, I want to be financially independent. And that means I’ve got to stop being a burden on my parents, and pay for the necessities myself.
Lol @ how confused this girl is by food. But actually! I feel like the most flexible area of my budget is food. The difference in cost between eating out for every meal and cooking for yourself is enormous, especially in NYC. But here’s the problem: I love to cook, and I love to eat healthy! Those might not sound like problems, but trust me: when you’re on a budget, they are. I want to buy all the freshest, fanciest ingredients, try elaborate new recipes, shop at Whole Foods, and stop for $12 freshly pressed kale-apple-ginger juices after work. Food is honestly where I splurge the most, because I tell myself it’s a necessity. But I know that if I decided to eat rice and beans for every meal, I could probably feed myself for a week on less than $10. Of course, that’s not at all a healthy idea, nor would I enjoy the repetition, but… thinking about it has left me wondering: should I start meal planning?
People rave about meal planning. It’s supposed to do wonders for your waistline, your wallet, and your busy work week schedule. So here’s what I’d like to know: does it live up to all the hype? It seems like a lot of work and careful planning to me. I do have the time to do it, but I’m scared that it’ll be tough to stick to, or that no matter how I plan it, I’ll have a hard time balancing cost and repetition of meals. I’m someone who can eat leftovers for 3 meals max (yikes, I kinda sound like a spoiled brat…) and then it’s just too much. Does anyone have advice for beginner meal planners like myself, or tips on how to eat well and save money at the same time? It would be much appreciated, and I’m sure there are other Vinglers out there who would benefit as well!
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3 comments
I can def say that meal planning lives up to all the hype. when I was religiously meal planning I realized that since I had my healthy meals planned out for the majority of the week I was less tempted to eat out, so in the end it worked out perfectly. It is time consuming, but so worth it. Thank you so much for this article because I def need to get back in the routine of meal planning now that I'm living in this overpriced city that I love so much *sighhhh* it's real out here.
I just wrote a card about meal planning for vegans, but I think that people of all dietary preferences can learn something from it: http://www.vingle.net/posts/883843-How-To-Pack-A-Balanced-Delicious-Vegan-Lunchbox It can be really cheap and easy. I think it's just a matter of having some speedy go-to recipes in your arsenal.
I decided to make a big dish of pasta earlier this week to use for a few meals this week (with other fresh additions every day, of course) but I ate it for 2-3 meals and am already so done with it. I also made a mistake and made enough to feed an army, so I ended up freezing the leftovers. And thawed pasta is never very good, so I too, think I'm going to have to do some meal planning rather than trying to do this "make a huge amount and eat it for the week" thing!