This is day 10 of How to Live on One Income Guide. To read all the post in order start on Day 1 here.
Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but when done right it is very rewarding. I like to have the meal plan visible for everyone to see to avoid the most dreaded question by kids “What’s for dinner?” Meal Planning is an excellent way to save money by shopping only for the items needed each week. Controlling grocery expenses is something that can save a ton of money in the budget. Make a grocery list and stick to it. This is the hardest part of meal planning, but I am here to help you through this journey.
How to Meal Plan
I haven’t even heard of meal planning until I started trying to save money on our family budget. To get started, every family has a few meal they just love. Be sure to incorporate these family favorites into meal planning. Create a simple system for the week. This makes it easy to plug in meals. Examples like Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday and such, so you know where to pull for recipes. Once you have a schedule down, it is easier to stick to the schedule and pick meals. If the meal is complicated, make a note card with the recipe. Keep the recipes based on the night of the schedule. So on Monday you can look through all the meatless options at one time to plan. Don’t get too much into a rut, try one new meal a week. If the family likes it then add it into the rotation.
How to Meal Plan to Save Money
Have a meatless meal at least once a week to cut done on grocery costs. A few examples are bean and cheese burritos, taco rice or soups. Cook once and serve twice. Making a large pot of stew or soup, but only using one pound of meat and doubling the rest of the ingredients will help stretch the meat a little further. Then create a freezer meal with the leftovers for those nights you don’t want to cook or just don’t have time to save money on eating out. Incorporate a leftover night into to the meal plan.
Make a List and Go Shopping
Once you have a meal scheduled for each day, make a list of ingredients to get at the grocery store. The hardest part is sticking to the list. Shop the outside of the store for fresh produce, meat and dairy items. I do tend to bend a little on snacks. Shopping for only snacks on sale is where I save money. Usually there are snack bars, crackers or cookies on sale each week. These are items to throw in the cart and do not have to be made.
I have created a Meal Planner Printable for you to use. Organize your meals and shopping list on one simple sheet.
Easy Meal Planning Guide
- Create a meal planning system for the week ie: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays
- Create a meal plan based on recipes the family loves
- One Meatless meal a week
- Create Freezer Meals for busy nights
- Have a leftover night (one night of not cooking)
- Make a list and go shopping once a week
- The Slow Cooker is your friend – use it
What are some of your favorite go to meals for Meal Planning?
[Go to day 11 of How to Live on One Income]