If you are looking for ways to save money, one easy place to start is with your monthly grocery bill. Yes, you can use coupons or money saving apps like Ibotta (by the way I love Ibotta, and you can earn $10 for just signing up). However, I want to share one simple way that you can save hundreds of dollars each month without using coupons or money saving apps.
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If you haven’t guessed it already, it’s meal planning. I am sure most of you have heard about meal planning already. There are hundreds of pins on Pinterest and blog posts that talk about meal planning and how important it is, but have you tried it lately?
Maybe you have tried meal planning, and it was too complicated or took too much time or maybe you were just too busy to sit down and actually meal plan. I get it. Our lives are so busy and sometimes we just can’t fathom putting one more thing on our plates.
However, I want to bring you back to this idea of meal planning and what is truly in it for you. Listen ladies, meal planning can make our busy lives so much easier. Really! I will admit that it is going to take some time to do it, but in the long run you will be so glad that you did.
Before we actually talk about how to meal plan, let’s first talk about the benefits of meal planning.
Benefits of Meal Planning
1. You don’t have to figure out what to cook for dinner an hour before dinner time (my personal favorite)
2. You will save time and energy when meals are planned out ahead of time
3. You will save money EVERY month on groceries (another one of my favorites)
4. You will be more organized and less stressed during the day
5. You will cut down on food waste
6. You will know exactly what you need to shop for at the grocery store
7. Your family will eat out less during the week which will save money
These are just some of the benefits of meal planning. I am sure that I am leaving out a few. The point is that meal planning has many benefits that will make our lives easier.
However, in all fairness, there are a few drawbacks of meal planning.
Drawbacks of Meal Planning
1. You will have to take time every week or month to actually sit down and meal plan
2. You will actually have to cook meals (this is for those of you who don’t like to cook) 🙂
3. You will have to go shopping to buy the ingredients needed for your meals
Overall, I would say that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Wouldn’t you? Honestly, meal planning is something that we all should be doing in order to save time, money, and our sanity.
So what’s involved in this process of meal planning?
I am so glad that you asked. Truthfully, meal planning is not difficult, and before you know it, it will be part of your weekly or monthly routine.
Here are the steps that I use every week to meal plan.
– Take Inventory
Before planning any meals, you need to take inventory of the ingredients you already have in your freezer, pantry, and refrigerator. Make a list of the meats, canned foods, vegetables, fruits, and other pantry staples (flour, butter, eggs, milk, oats, etc.) that you already have on hand.
– Brainstorm Meal Ideas
Next, you will make a list of meal ideas for your family using the ingredients that you have on your inventory list. You will list meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I like to start with common meals that my family enjoys, and then I try to add a few new recipes that I want to try. Write down as many meals ideas as you can.
You might not have all the ingredients needed for one particular meal idea, but that’s ok. We will eventually make a shopping list. However, the point here is to try and use the ingredients you already have to save you time and money.
– Plan it Out
Now you will take those meal ideas and plan out your meals for the week or for the month. Personally, I meal plan weekly. I have tried monthly meal plans, but they just don’t work for me. However, monthly meal plans may work for you!
You will plan out meals for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the entire week or month. Once I have my weekly meal plan done, I post it on the refrigerator. By doing this, I am more organized, prepared, and my family can look at the meal planning sheet and know exactly what’s for dinner.
– Go Shopping
Once I have my weekly meal plan done, I create my shopping list. The goal is to only go shopping once during the week and buy only what is on the shopping list. This will again save you time and money. You won’t be running to the store every other day or spending money on ingredients that you may already have at home.
These are the simple steps to successful meal planning. You may have tried meal planning before and weren’t successful, but I encourage you to give it another try. Trust me, you will be less stressed, more organized, and save over $100 this month on groceries.
If you need help with meal planning, download these FREE Meal Planning printables. These printables are everything you need to complete the steps listed above.
With a little planning and practice, you can be successful with meal planning. Try it today to save you time, money, and your sanity!
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