Grocery shopping is hard. Cooking is hard. Planning out a menu for a family for a week is hard. But if you can put a little time into it, you’ll end up saving time in the long run, and saving money, and eating healthier then you would otherwise.Eating out is expensive. For a family of 4, it usually costs my family about 50 dollars to eat out or to get take out. Not to mention that portion sizes are large, and you never know what is being put into your food. You may think that salad you ate for dinner was healthy, but all of that cheese, extra dressing, and fried chicken on top of the salad can make it calorie laden and heavy.Now when I cook at home, I can prepare things much healthier and for less money then what I would spend if my family were to eat out. Let’s look at a meal I prepare once a week. This dinner will consist of grilled chicken breast, salad, and bread. I get organic chicken because I don’t want my family exposed to all of the anti-biotics and hormones that are in most commercially produced chicken. So for a pack of 3 chicken breasts it is 7 dollars. A bag of lettuce (I am lazy in some ways and would rather just buy pre-washed lettuce) is about 3 dollars. A fresh loaf of whole wheat or whole grain bread from the local bakery is 3 dollars. I put some fresh mozzerella cheese on the salad for 4 dollars. And then put on some dried cranberries (part of a pack of dried cranberries would be approximately 1 dollar). Then to make the salad dressing and a dip for the bread I use: olive oil, lemon, basil, black pepper, balsamic vinegar. So the total cost of the salad dressing would be: olive oil 10$, lemon .79$, black pepper 3$, basil 4$, balsamic vinegar 5$. All together the cost is about 23$. But this will make enough salad dressing to last a few weeks. So probably 20 servings all together. So it’s about 1.15$ per serving of salad dressing. Compare that to store bought salad dressing and it is a huge difference, and it is much healtheir because there are no preservatives or sodium in it.So let’s say we will use 4 servings of the dressing for this dinner. That will still only bring the cost of the meal to 19$ approximately. And you will know everything that went into the meal. And I always have left overs for lunch the next day.So if you can put a little thought into grocery shopping, you can plan things out and make foods that taste good, are healthy, and are inexpensive. Check out my up coming book to find out more recipes and strategies for planning out foods and preparing them.