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How to Plan Meals Economically

Whether you’re feeding yourself or a family, mealtimes present a challenge when you want to be economical without sacrificing your favorites. You want tasty meals that everyone will enjoy and that won’t send your budget into cardiac arrest.

  • Find a breakfast you and your wallet will love. Make homemade versions of frequently purchased breakfast items, such as frozen waffles or instant oatmeal.

    Also, use leftovers: Cold pizza makes a nice breakfast. So does a cheese enchilada or some vegetarian lasagna from dinner the night before.

  • Brown-bag it in style for lunch. Bringing homemade lunch items with you to work or school is a surefire way to save money every day during the week. Keep these tips in mind:

    • Be creative with your menu. Vary your menu from day to day to keep your palate happy.

    • Spice it up. Add fresh herbs or fancier condiments (horseradish for that roast beef sandwich).

    • Go for the extraordinary. Instead of run-of-the-mill cheese cubes, pack a variety of cheeses with a couple slices of shaved ham, a few olives, some fruit, and crackers.

  • Save on scrumptious dinners. Here are a few ideas to help you save money and still end up with a great dinner:

    • Serve breakfast for dinner. Bacon and eggs may be a fairly expensive breakfast to serve the family, but it’s a very cheap meal compared to most dinner menus.

    • Focus on the sides. Make dinner a small serving of chicken with a large tossed salad and a generous serving of steamed vegetables or rice.

    • Serve salad. A chef salad, for example, includes a little meat and a lot of vegetables.

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