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1 HUGE (and simple) Way to Save Money


Prepare yourself to read something completely genius and mind blowing. Haha, just kidding guys.

This money saving tip is so simple, but you’re probably not doing this all the time like you should be.

We create our budget spreadsheet each month and try really hard to stick to the budget, but what gets in the way of that? Not being prepared!

So here it is:

1 HUGE (and simple) Way to Save Money:

Be Prepared

Here’s the thing: In a perfect world I would always wake up on time and eat a healthy breakfast before work. We wouldn’t run into traffic on the way home from the beach and be starving for a super quick dinner.

Being prepared is about planning for things to go wrong. Life never goes perfectly according to our plans and we end up without time to make a lunch in the morning.

All of those little unplanned events often add up to a few dollar spent here and there. They leave you wondering where all of your money went!

The four biggest areas we find ourselves unprepared for are breakfast, lunch, dinner, and when we’re out and about (like a trip to the beach or the mall).


Have you seen the line at McDonald’s first thing in the morning? It’s crazy! You know what most of them are buying? Coffee and a breakfast sandwich. And they’re not buying it because it’s the world’s best coffee and breakfast sandwich (because it is not). They’re buying it because they weren’t prepared for breakfast.

Here are some ways that you can eliminate that last minute stop for breakfast by being prepared:

  • Make your cup of coffee at home and pour it into a travel mug so that you can drink it on the way to work or once you get there.
  • If you’re always short on time for breakfast, buy the Carnation Instant Breakfast pouches that you mix with milk or water. You can mix it up at home real quick in a travel mug or even mix up the pouch with water when you get to work and drink it there. It’s really good for you and is a decent substitute for breakfast.
  • Buy easy grab and go breakfast options. Yogurt, fruit, baggies of nuts, oatmeal pouches… Just don’t eat them until you get to where you’re going because tons of accidents happen in the morning when people are eating and driving.

When life goes as planned, I have time to make eggs or eat a bowl of cereal in the morning. But life doesn’t always go as planned and it’s good to have backups that keep me for wasting money at the McDonald’s drive-through.

You Might Like These Posts Too:

How to Simplify Breakfasts + Quick & Healthy Ideas

19 Ways to Simplify Your Life Today (in 30 minutes or less)

What We Eat in a Week: Our $70 Meal Plan


Always pack a lunch the night before. Always! 🙂 Just assume you won’t have time in the morning.


This is where meal planning becomes super important.

We like to buy chicken breast when it’s on sale and then store it in our big freezer downstairs. We pretty much always have chicken at our house. The problem is that it is both frozen and raw.

If I don’t think about what we’re going to eat ahead of time, I won’t be ready for dinner and we’ll most likely get takeout. Now you know know I love takeout and have nothing against it, but I like it to be a planned treat, not a necessity.

For me, meal planning means that when I make my grocery list for the week, I also make a list of all of the meals that those groceries can make. I make sure that I’m buying the right foods for a week’s worth of meals.

I like to think about what we’re going to eat for dinner either first thing in the morning or the night before. That way, I have time to thaw the chicken or something else if I need to. It’s easy to quickly decide what you’re going to have for dinner the next night when you already have a list of meals that you know you have the foods to make.

Being prepared for dinner is all about meal planning and thinking ahead.

Sidenote: I have a guide that teaches my simple meal planning method. Hundreds of families are already saving big money through meal planning with Let’s Make Meal Planning Simple!

What's for Dinner

Out & About

I swear that even if we eat a meal right before we leave to go out and about for a few hours, we always end up hungry and stopping somewhere for a snack.

Things like trips to the beach, shopping trips a few towns over, hanging out down at the river… Any time we’re going to be gone for a few hours.

Usually, we plan on only being gone for a few hours, but it ends up being more like three or four or five hours and we get hungry. Trips almost always take longer than we think they will.

After too many stops at Taco Bell, I realized that I just need to always pack snack and bottles of water. It may seem crazy to pack snacks when you don’t think you’ll need them, but it only takes a few minutes to pack up and if we don’t need them they go right back in the cupboard.

Here’s what I often pack in our little lunch cooler:

I don’t pack all of these things, but whatever we happen to have, I’ll throw in a cooler bag on our way out the door.

I also try to make sure that we have water and a water bowl for Mozzie when we take him anywhere. If we’re going to be gone for a few hours we take a baggie of food and maybe a toy for him.

By being prepared, we have probably saved thousands of dollars over the years. Putting in a little bit of effort up front makes a huge difference!

You Might Like These Posts Too:

How to Live on $2500 Per Month (our actual budget)

When to Save and When to Pay Off Debt

How I Stick to a $70/Week Grocery Budget

How to Stop Eating Out: Finally Break the Habit! 

⇒ How do you save money by being prepared?

1 HUGE (and simple) Way to Save Money

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My Money Design

Tuesday 16th of August 2016

Good tips! We've started packing drinks when we leave the house so that we're not tempted to stop at McDonalds and drop $10 on drinks and snacks. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up over time.


Wednesday 17th of August 2016

That's awesome! It really makes a difference over time. And it's not hard to pack a few drinks real quick.

Shani | Sunshine & Munchkins

Monday 15th of August 2016

Meal planning all the way! We save so much money doing this. We also buy chicken and ground beef when it's on sale and then we will portion it out and cut it up before throwing it in the freezer. It's a great way to save on time.


Tuesday 16th of August 2016

I just bought a bunch of chicken on sale yesterday. I trimmed it up and put a few pieces in each bag and now we've got enough chicken for a few months in the freezer. Love it!

Erin | A Welder's Wife

Monday 15th of August 2016

Mine are the same way! If I plan my meals, I save a lot of money! Thank you for the reminder. I had to spend an unexpected $100 at the vet today, and it is so nice to not have to worry about money. I can focus on helping her recover!


Tuesday 16th of August 2016

I hope she's ok Erin!


Monday 15th of August 2016

Great tips! I'm trying to be better about eating out less!


Monday 15th of August 2016

Thanks Rachel! It's a tough habit to break!


Monday 15th of August 2016

I always meal plan, make a list, then check for coupons and Ibotta, Checkout51, and SavingStar to see if there are any rebates on what I am already planning to get. Then, try realllly hard not to stray from my list!


Monday 15th of August 2016

That's great Lauren! I'm sure it saves you tons of money!