Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Budget Meals {Meal Planning}

How much are you paying for your meals? Is the meal you're cooking a low-cost or high-cost meal? How do you even know?

Well, I'm going to show you how to figure it out. This is a fun and revealing way to determine your spending on meals and whether it's in your budget or not. It does require a little bit of math, but I promise it's easy!

Let's pretend we're making Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas.
You need to know:
Package Size
Price per package
Now, that you have the info you need, let's do a little math!
First, determine how many units are in each package size. Ex. We need 1/2 cup of broth. The package contains 4 cups. So, how many 1/2 cups are in 4 cups? Divide 4 by .5 and you get 8.
Now, take your answer and divide that into the total price. Ex. $2.00 divided by 8 = .25 cents. So, our 1/2 cup of chicken broth is costing us .25 cents.
Do this for all ingredients.
If you have two different types of measurements like EVOO - we need 2T, but the package consists of ounces. Convert ounces to Tablespoons first, then, do the math. We know that there are 8 oz in 1 cup. 1 cup = 16 Tablespoons. Now, you can do the math to figure out your problem.
Look at the highlighted column and you can see how much each item costs for our recipe. Now, add them all up and you get the total cost of the entire meal. Finally, divide the total by # of servings to see how much you're paying for each person to eat this meal.
For 8 servings (which I got based on how many enchiladas we made {8}) it costs $1.80 per enchilada.

What constitutes a low-cost meal? Any meal where the cost is $1.50 or less per serving is a low-cost meal.
A moderate-cost meal would be between $1.50-$2.50 per serving.
A high-cost meal would be over $2.50 per serving.

Ours is a moderate-cost meal and I'd say that the cheese is what pushed us over budget. You could always use less cheese and less chicken to stay within budget, but I'm willing to go over budget for cheese!! I'm just sayin'...

You can use this conversion chart as a quick reference. Go here to print it out for yourself.
I hope this helps you in your budgeting efforts! I suggest you figure out your favorite, most used meals in your household and do this little assignment and keep the results handy so that you can always go back and use it as a reference! It only takes a little time up front, but can help you save big in the long run!

How do you budget for your meals? Did you find this helpful? I'd LOVE to hear your thoughts on this.
This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics that you can find more of here.
Thanks for stopping by! I'm sharing this with some of these friends.
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  1. Amy this is just great info even for someone who has been planning meals for 40 yrs . Made me think about my spending and that is great in this ecomony

  2. It was good for me to revisit this idea because I need to get back to following a budget with groceries. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting!


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