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Meal Prep: Save on Food, Groceries, Electricity, and More!

profileJunel Seet
Source: CNA

NOOOO INFLATION Y U DO DIS?!?!

So recently Channel News Asia reported an increase in the prices of some everyday groceries.

One of the notable increases includes the huge jump in the price of eggs!

Eggs are such a versatile ingredient, almost all the places I buy takeout from include eggs in their dishes one way or another.

Sooner or later adding a braised egg to my favourite plate of chicken rice might be something I need to forgo at the food court. 😭

Luckily, there’s a way for me to save on my food expenses!


TL;DR: How Much You Can Save When You Meal Prep


What Is Meal Prep?

Source: Smilesandwich

Doing a Meal Prep means making your week, or days’ worth of food ahead of time.

This is so that you can heat it up in batches throughout the week, saving both time and money!

Even if you’re who gets bored of eating the same thing daily, you can surprise yourself by preparing different meals for each day of the week.

Meal Prep, A Simple Financial Hack

But what if I don’t know how to cook?

Worry not!

Instagram and YouTube have so many different video guides on how you can do a simple meal prep!

Meal prep is often associated with the ‘hipster’ way of life that involves a lot of avocados, quinoa, healthy western ingredients and money.

Funny enough, people miss the point that doing your own meal prep is a major financial hack.

How Meal Prep Saves Money

Assuming you are unconvinced about the cost savings as you already live a frugal lifestyle, we break down the weekly expenses of a typical working adult or tertiary student who eats at the food court every day.

DayLunch or DinnerPrice
MonChicken Rice + Egg$4.50
TuesBan Mian$5
WedJapanese Rice$8
ThursKorean Rice $7
FriEconomic Rice$4
Total$28.50

In contrast, the cost of one week’s worth of meal prep ingredients:

IngredientsPrice
Chicken Breast x 2 (300g)$3.50
Sweet Potatoes (750g)$2.50
Cherry Tomatoes (250g)$1.70
Broccoli (250g)
$3
Carrots (500g)$1
Onions, Garlic, Oil, Rice $4
Total$15.70

By just doing meal preps for just 1 meal every weekday, you can save up to $12 a week.

1. Buying in bulk saves cost

Meal prep is all about maximizing economies of scale.

Buying your groceries in bulk saves you costs for every food item.

Especially staple foodstuff and major ingredients such as meat, a bag of capsicums or potatoes instead of just buying single pieces.

Cooking big portions also help you maximise the usage of your ingredients.

This avoids the wasteful disposal of half a cabbage, one rooted onion or that one rotten egg at the end of 2 weeks.

2. Save on electricity

Since you’re preparing for a few meals at once, bulk washing your vegetables and cooking a mass of food instead of one portion can save a lot of electricity in the long run.

Not to mention this helps you do a part for the environment!

Small impacts go a long way.

3. Prevents you from spending unnecessarily

When we finish a long day, sometimes we just want to take away whatever meal is convenient and head back home to eat and watch our television shows.

This meal can be $5-$10 and more every day depending on where you get it from.

Convenience can actually be made by yourself when you do your meal prep on Sunday nights to make eating the rest of the week a breeze.

5 meal prep tips to get you started

Here are some tips you must know in order to maximize costs, efficiency and well, your happiness.

1. Credit Card benefits

Starting your meal prep journey means a lot of grocery shopping, whether in stores or online. So, you have to get the bang for your buck.

Credit CardSupermarketBenefits
OCBC NTUC Plus! Credit Card
(For NTUC members)
NTUC FairpriceUp to 12% off at FairPrice stores, Unity and Warehouse Club

Up to 8% off at FairPrice Online
POSB Everyday CardSheng Siong5% Rebate at Sheng Siong

8% Rebate at RedMart
Citibank SMRT Platinum Visa Cards
NTUC Fairprice, Giant, Sheng SiongUp to 5% Savings at Supermarkets and Grocery Stores

*Do take note of minimum monthly spending requirements and cashback caps!

2. Look out for deals

Online grocery deliveries such as Redmart, NTUC Online and Giant Online show you attractive weekly deals that you can check before deciding to plan for your meal prep.

This way, you can change your menu every week according to what is on sale.

If you plan your expenditure wisely, you can even qualify for free delivery!

3. Simplify recipes

Saw an amazing meal prep recipe online? It typically involves a few exotic ingredients or delicious sauces that are… hard to make.

If you’re feeling less adventurous, replace the beef with chicken that is easier to cook and the asparagus with lettuce or some chye sim.

Don’t be disheartened by the extravagant marinates as you can always replace them with some store-bought barbeque sauce or a simple drizzle of olive oil and pepper.

Things that are easier to get and hassle-free to cook will make your meal prep journey a whole lot easier.

4. Plan ahead

Have a plan for when you want to buy your groceries and when you will cook your food.

Perhaps Friday will be a good time to order your groceries online or stop by the supermarket after work.

Marinating any meat can also be done on the same day so you can cook your food without a hassle on Sunday.

Keeping to a schedule will make things easier and leave you more time to yourself.

Also, a quick tip is to freeze food you want to save for more than 4 days to keep them fresh and refrigerate food for Monday and Tuesday’s consumption.

5. Make this a social activity

We understand that meal prep sometimes means eating on your own during lunchtime when your colleagues head out or heating up a lonely meal at night.

This doesn’t always have to be the case!

Share your meal prep tips with your friends and family. You can start a “Meal-Prep Monday” event in the office where everyone preps one dish to share.

At home, you can make this a family activity if your family has the habit of eating home on weeknights.

On weekends, your meal preps can even be taken to the beach or the Marina Barrage for a picnic.

Food is a big portion of our everyday expenditure. Since meal prep is a lifestyle that is not only trendy but cheap and healthy, why not give it a shot?

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About Junel Seet
Most of my expenditure is on sustenance. Yes, I meant food.
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