Summer time. The kids are out of school; baseball games, soccer practices, and swimming lessons are in full swing. The weather warms up, and your focus moves to fun.
The only downfall? The busyness of the summer months usually equates to blown budgets. After all, who wants to be cooking in a hot kitchen or poring over their budget when they could be outside soaking up the sun?
When it comes to budgets, mine is often blown by food. To be specific: eating out way more than I should.
But with some fierce determination, I decided I was going to nix this habit — and I haven’t eaten out for the entire month of June. So far, I’m spending about half as much on food as I normally do!
Summer Food: How to Save Time & Money
1. Choose simple meals
It’s hot outside. In fact, it was right around 90 degrees today, and my air conditioner is in overdrive. The last thing I want to do is make my house even hotter by taking the time to cook elegant meals on the stove.
Instead, I’ve been cooking simple meals like salads and sandwiches. Easy peasy!
2. Prepare things in advance
In the past, this was one of my major pitfalls. Since I wouldn’t have all the ingredients I needed to make a meal, I’d either run to the store and buy a lot more than what I’d intended, or I’d go through the drive-thru at a fast food joint. Neither were good options.
For the month of June, I’ve made it a point to make advance preparations. When shopping, I take a list of the meals my family eats the most and buy enough stuff to make it through a week or two. By doing this, I eliminate impulse purchases and can match up the best deals with what we’ll be eating that week.
You could also make a detailed menu plan, but my family does better with just a few options each day. That way, I can make whatever I feel like making.
3. Use your crockpot
Nobody wants to heat up an already warm house, so many people hate turning on the stove in the summer time. Enter the crockpot.
There are countless crockpot recipes that are both cheap and easy. Plus, the crockpot will save you a ton of time. Just set it and forget it!
4. Grill out
Although I love crockpot cooking, my go-to tool this summer has been the grill. Grilled food tastes delicious and cooks relatively fast. As a bonus, it’s also healthy!
5. Enjoy lots of fruits & veggies
As far as snacks and sides go, I’ve saved myself a lot of time by using fruits and vegetables. Instead of cooking macaroni and cheese, rice, or potatoes as a side, I simply put carrots, sliced apples, bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes on the plate.
This has helped my family eat a lot healthier — and my kids love it!
I know it’s tempting to run through the drive-thru on a busy day. (And it’s perfectly fine to do so on occasion.)
But if you’re really wanting to save on your food budget this month, try some of these suggestions. Take it from me: a little planning can equate to a ton of savings and a healthier diet!
How do you reduce your food budget in the summer months?