Five reasons to meal plan (hint: you will gets HOURS of your life and THOUSANDS of your dollars back)

It is no secret that I am not an organized person. Sigh. This is something I am working on, but it is difficult for me. But I have other good qualities...

But, one way I have gotten myself more organized is to plan my family's weekly menu. At our house we have my husband, me and our two sons who eat smaller portions of the same foods we do. Some days they eat way more than other days. 

1. Meal planning and cooking every night leaves us with a lot of leftovers which saves us a lot of money.

By having my husband carry his lunch to work every day he is not only saving time he is saving $1,250 to $2,500 annually by not spending $5 - $10 a day on lunch. 

This is just one reason I have really come to love meal planning. 

Now I am going to give you four more reasons to meal plan. 

2. It saves time.

Tons of time. Looking at your pantry and planning your meals, even if it's just weeknight meals, will save you a TON of time. Need an extra 2 hours in your week to get more done or just relax. 

If you spend 30 minutes a week planning your menu, you are done. If you spend 30 minutes a night figuring out what to cook that is 2 extra hours a week you wasted staring at the contents of your freezer. 

That's 104 hours or four days a year you have earned back!

3. You will waste less food.

We've already talked about how much money you will save by packing a lunch of leftovers. But what about the money you will save by "shopping from your pantry." 

According to this article, Americans throw away $165 billion in food annually. This makes my stomach turn when I think about all the hungry children in the world. 

This means, according to this article, "the average American family of four ends up throwing away an equivalent of up to $2,275 annually in food."

That's insane!

If you keep an inventory and you cook based on what you have in your freezer or pantry you are throwing less away.

4. Your meals will likely be healthier.

Unless you're frying chicken and fries each night, chances are your meals will probably be healthier than what is shoved at your in a greasy paper bag. 

And it is easy to make cheap healthy meals. A roast chicken will cost you less than $7 and yield lots and lots of leftovers for soups, salads and casseroles. 

5. You will feel a little more organized.

For me, this is a big one. I often feel scattered brained and not centered, like I am just floating around with my to-do list. But meal planning makes me feel more anchored. 

Even if it is the only planning you have time to do each week you will feel lighter. 

What about you? What reasons do you have for meal planning?