6 Ways to Prep for Everyday Life and Save Money
| Photographs By VLG
Thinking ahead and learning to plan out and prep for your week, and possibly even month, can not only save you money, but save you stress as well.
Life is chaotic, to the point where you can begin to feel as if you don’t have time for too much extra. Between work, family, and many other responsibilities of life, finding the capacity for it all isn’t always easy.
More often than not, we’re forced to plan things or make decisions on the fly, which only serves to cause extra pressure and expense. Thankfully, there are myriad ways to plan ahead and eliminate some of the stress and chaos of every day. By utilizing a few easy tips and tricks to simplify your life, you’ll not only save yourself time, but money as well.
Here are six ways to accomplish just that.
1. Plan your meals
One of your biggest helpers in saving time and money is planning your meals ahead. Take time at the beginning of each week, possibly on Sunday, to figure out what you’ll eat and cook for each meal.
The benefit of doing so is that you create a set list of groceries for the week and prepare meals based around similar items so you’re spending less overall. You’ll eliminate the stress of figuring out what to eat each night and save on your grocery budget each month.
Another way to prep is to use a meal delivery service, like Blue Apron or these.
2. Cook and freeze
Saving on groceries can often seem difficult, especially when certain items spoil easily. Save time on your weeknights by preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them. Make large batches of items like soup, lasagnas, casseroles, and the like, portion them out, and freeze them.
By making batches and freezing you ensure you use all of your grocery purchases without letting any go to waste. And you have a steady supply of meals on hand so you spend less on groceries and eating out in the long run.
3. Utilize non-perishables and canned goods
Again, one of the most difficult aspects of cooking is using all of your produce and perishables before they go bad. More often than not, you pay more for something fresh only to find it’s spoiled before you’ve used it. To keep some of this expensive waste at bay, take to cooking with more non-perishables or canned goods.
Grains like rice and quinoa or canned goods like crushed tomatoes, corn, and beans have a tendency to last for months, if not longer. Stock up on dry and canned goods when they’re on sale or you have the chance; you’ll save money on produce by swapping out some of the fresh and always be prepared with a few staples on hand.
4. Clip coupons or use an app
Saving on groceries no doubt takes preparation and forethought. It’s often when we are grabbing items on a whim that we spend more. While it does take some time, one easy way to save on groceries and toiletries is by utilizing coupons or coupon apps.
Make a point to peruse the newspaper, sign up for coupons, or download apps like Grocery iQ, Checkout51, ShopKick, or Yowza to find deals and discounts on items you purchase on a regular basis.
While the discounts might seem small initially, the little you save here and there adds up. At the end of the day, the time you take to plan ahead for discounts could save you more than you realize.
5. Program your thermostat
There’s no question your heating and air cost you quite a bit in terms of utilities. That being said, there are steps you can take to ensure it doesn’t eat up too much of your budget. Many household thermostats allow you to program them, and if yours doesn’t, purchase one that does so you can set the temperatures depending on when you’re home.
Make an effort to keep things either hotter or cooler (depending on the season) when you’re away and program the thermostat to kick on during the hours you’re actually home. There’s no reason to run your heating or air full blast while you’re gone; setting it beforehand to accommodate those times will help you easily save money on your monthly bill.
Furthermore, if you really want to go the extra step, consider keeping your home a couple of degrees hotter or cooler to make more of a dent in your bill; after all, fans and blankets can help make up for the difference.
6. Knock out all your errands in one trip
Do you ever have weeks where you feel like you’re constantly running around? You may run a couple of errands one day and a couple the next and a couple the next. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it could be costing you money.
If you know you have multiple errands and tasks to accomplish throughout the week, make a plan for them at the beginning. Sit down and write out every errand you’ll need to run and then plan to hit all of them in one trip.
You could even map out the course of where each errand is to create the most efficient route. By taking time to plan out your errands in one day, you’ll not only save yourself time, but quite the gas bill as well.
The bottom line
There’s no question that prepping for the week and planning ahead takes a little extra time. Even so, figuring out what to eat at the end of the day, going grocery shopping without a list, and running an errand each time you think of a new one only serves to cost you extra money and add to the chaos of life.
Having a solid plan, like a set budget, takes some of the guesswork out of the everyday. By following a few easy tips to prepare for everyday life, you’ll find you not only have more time, but extra funds as well.
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