Meal prepping in its entirety when planned properly can save you money and time. In the beginning when stocking your kitchen it may seem more expensive, but in about a month's time you'll start seeing the real cost savings! Here are 5 ways to slim the bill!
1. There is no need for a grocery store receipt that reaches the moon! Yes variety is important, but the variety can come in switching things up weekly, not daily. Having fewer ingredients shortens prep time as you don't need to clean up as much. (Time is money!)  Plus it will help you stay more organized keeping your fridge and cupboards cleaner which means less time hunting for things and less chances of ingredients going to waste. 
2. This coincides with #1, using fewer ingredients. Even as a party of 1, using fewer ingredients enables you to purchase fresh produce in bulk without it going to waste. Items that are shelf stable and last for a long time that are less expensive in bulk are oils, nuts, seeds, vinegars, frozen vegetables, and frozen fruits. Also, when farmers markets are open, farmers will typically give you deals on the more you buy of one item. 
3. You cannot beat Amazon's free shipping and Costco's wholesale prices! Costco has almost everything you need except maybe some specialty produce and fresh herbs.  Did you know it is the biggest retailer of organic food? They have so many options and the list is growing! I've even noticed they are growing their gluten free, paleo and vegan markets! Items at Costco I've found to have great prices (please note every Costco is different) besides fresh produce are quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic eggs, raw nuts, organic chicken and other meats, salts, coconut oil and frozen organic vegetables and organic berries of all varieties, gluten free flours and sustainable canned seafood.
4. While it would be great if we could eat 100% organic sometimes it's not in the budget, although I have noticed prices for organic have dropped. When it comes to produce knowing what you can get away with being non organic will save you a lot of money. 
The list changes every year and the best source is the Environmental Working Group. You can sign up for their free guide here. I haven't seen this year's list yet, but here is last years. Mostly I have memorized it, but I also like to keep an image of it in my photos. Another trick, is if the produce has an outer shell you don't eat, like avocados and mangoes, it is typically clean. 
5.  This pertains mainly to produce and the law of supply and demand.  When produce is in season there is more of it available, prices will go down. This is also a great way to ensure you are eating seasonally! 
Do you have any cost saving tips you'd like to share? Please comment below. I'm sure the community would love to hear as I would! 
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