4 Ways to Save Time and Money on Your Home Cooked Meals

4 Ways to Save Time and Money on Your Home Cooked Meals

Do you find that preparing meals is a chore and takes too much time? Maybe you forgot to defrost the chicken for tonight’s dinner. Do you come home after a long day at work and realise you hadn’t even thought about what you’d eat for your evening meal? Are you fed up of having to pop to the shops for one essential recipe ingredient?

If you want to make life easier for yourself, saving time and money, then read on…

The solution is simple…it’s all about planning. Yes, I hear you saying planning takes time, and that’s true. But in the long run it saves much more time – it means that you will whizz around the supermarket much quicker, and only have to go once. And you’ll use everything you buy, so you’ll have less waste. So here are my 4 top tips for saving time and money on your meals:

Tip 1: Make a Menu – Plan out your menu for a whole week (or longer if you like), starting on the day after you go shopping. This is just a really simple plan that will only take a few minutes to write.

  • Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 22.36.03You can write it on paper, a whiteboard, or even on your phone. I prefer to have it on paper, so that I can keep it on the fridge. You can save even more time by having a template to print out and use.
  • If you find it difficult to think of what meals to make, make and keep a list of your family favourites and meals that you can make easily. Then look through the list and pick something you haven’t had in a while.
  • As you find recipes that look good, collect them too and keep them all in one place, either electronically or on paper.
  • There are also plenty of apps that have recipe and meal ideas. If that’s something you want to know more about, comment below and I will review a few apps.

TimeFairyShoppingListTip 2: Make a Shopping List – Always make a list and stick to it. This is essential to making sure you only have to shop once for the week.

  • If you get home deliveries, go to Tip 3.
  • If you go to the same supermarket every time, try making your list in the order that the supermarket is laid out. For example, put section headings like: fruit & veg, bread, freezer, and slot the items under the right headings. You’ll find that you fly though the shopping.
  • Again, if you want to be super time-saving, make a template list on your computer with the headings, and include things on it that you get every week, such as milk and bread.
  • Stick to the list, but if you see some real bargains that you can’t pass up, that’s great if it saves you money. However, make sure the dates are good, or that you can freeze something that’s about to expire.

grocery shopping vegTip 3: Shop Only Once – Once you’ve made the list, you only need to shop once because you’ve planned for the whole week. Your shop will be quick and easy if you’ve followed tip 1 and 2.

  • Remember to check use-by dates, according to your planned menu.
  • You might find that home delivery is best for you. Think about whether this will save you time or not. How long does it take you to drive to the supermarket, shop, get home and unload the car? Think about the delivery cost too and compare it to your petrol cost.

IpodTimeFairyTip 4: Make the Most of Cooking Time – So, all the shopping has been done, efficiently and easily and now it’s time to cook. A few ideas for enjoying it and maximizing the time while you’re in the kitchen…

  • Listen to a podcast.
  • Catch up on missed TV programmes on your tablet.
  • Put on your favourite music so you can sing, dance and have a great time as you cook.


A Few Bonus Tips:

  • Cook double portions – If you double the ingredients in a recipe, you can cook twice as much food, but it won’t take much longer to cook. This way, you can freeze half of it and you’ll have a ready-made home-cooked meal to use whenever you don’t have time to cook.
  • Use frozen or tinned vegetables – This will save you time on washing, peeling and chopping.
  • Use a crockpot – Crockpots (or slow cookers/pressure cookers) are brilliant ways to make cooking easy. All you need to do is prepare the veggies and other ingredients, chuck them all in, turn it on, and leave it. In a few hours you’ll have a delicious nutritious meal.


I hope that you’ve found these ideas useful and would love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps you have some tips of your own to share with other readers.

If you like the idea but aren’t sure how to begin, The Time Fairy can help you get started with this planned approach, or even do some bulk cooking for you.

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