Food on a budget tip #5: Clean, cut, and cook ahead of timeFinancial Literacy

I’m sure when you come home from work or school, you do not feel like cooking a meal from scratch.  Most people probably turn to junk food or ordering out, which of course as mentioned in tip #4, adds up.

Below are some ways that cleaning, cutting, and cooking my meals ahead of time has saved me not only money, but time and calories.

The basics

Clean, cut, and season meat, chicken, or fish and place into ziplock bags or reuse grocery bags. Depending on the circumstances, I also prepare and portion out my sides as well (beans, rice, vegetables).

If I want to save a meal for days when I do not have time to cook a meal from scratch – I cook my entire meal, portion it out in tupperware, and place it in the freezer.

Time saver

Before I leave for school, I put the pre-cut and seasoned fish or chicken out to defrost. By the time I return from school, all I have to do is put the food in the oven or grill.

If I already cooked the meal, I put the pre-made food out to defrost. By the time I return from school, all I have to do is put the food in the microwave

Money saver

Portion out your food and you will save money. When I buy a package of chicken breasts that contains two pieces of chicken, I split the chicken breast in half, leaving me with 4 pieces instead of two. Instead of buying two packages of chicken, I can buy one, save money, and make less trips to the grocery store.

Calorie saver

I am enjoying the benefits of preparing food ahead of time. Because I pre-package and portion out my meals, I do not overeat and as a result my waistline has been decreasing. It was when I decided to save money and cut my chicken in half, I realized that my portion sizes were large and I did not need to eat a full piece of chicken or fish to be full. To avoid eating a large portion of fish or chicken, a large percentage of my meal is vegetables.

As you can see, preparing your meals ahead of time will save you time, money, and in some cases calories!

Here are some photo examples of me preparing my food ahead of time.

food on a budget: prepare ahead of time

I made chili in my crockpot, saved it in tupperware, and froze it for later. Each tupperware container was equal to about 3-4 days of dinner

food on a budget prepare ahead of time

I grilled tilapia and made some plantains and green beans. After I cut up the fish, this equaled about 3 days of dinner.


Do you prepare your meals ahead of time? Do you find it helps save money?

As always, feel free to share with me your Food On a Budget tips and I will write about it or you can guest blog 🙂



An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.

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Photo Credit: Lisa-Marie Pierre






    • bytifi
    • onNovember 11, 2013

    some great tips.

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