Food & Beverage · Home & Garden

Save Money by Meal Planning

How many times do you find yourself stopping at the grocery store or market in a typical week? What if you only had to make one trip, and in that one trip to the store, you could save both time and money? It’s no secret that having a grocery list will help you stay on task in the grocery store, and keep you from buying things you don’t really need. What good is a grocery list, though, if you don’t have your meals pre-planned out for the week? You can spend lots of time and money creating a grocery list of items that you think you need, but the meals of the week are staples for your family, and if you’re running to the store every 1-2 days, you’re wasting hard earned money and wasting your own precious time.

Meal planning can seem tedious, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t even have to take up a lot of time if you’re willing to sit down for a few minutes at the start of each week to make a simple plan. Come up with at least six dinner options that you know your family will enjoy. Think of their favorites or your go-to meals that they’ll enjoy having during the week. If you need some meal inspiration, you can just jump over to Pinterest and take a look around. There are thousands of recipes with new ideas on old classics that’ll breathe new life into your weekly meal plans if yours have become rather stale. Take a coffee break, and sit down to really think about what it is that you’d like to prepare for your family during the week ahead. Make lists, and plan to stick to them. Smart phones make meal planning easy, so make sure that you have one that can help you do what you need. Get a $100.00 discount on select phones at Verizon.

Set your grocery budget, and work from there. You know your budget, and you know the meals that will work best for your family. If you need to stretch some food items a bit more from one week to the next, plan to purchase foods that will allow you to do that, like the rotisserie chicken. This type of chicken can be used for a nice meal with side vegetables, and then any chicken left on the bone can be taken off and turned into soup, chicken salad, casseroles, etc. Eggs also go a long way in meals and can be used for quiche, omelets, egg muffins, and more. Never discount the idea of having breakfast for dinner… kids love pancakes any time of day. Create fun shapes with special pancake pans and batter pens. You can find cool designs and cooking essentials at Cost Plus World Market. Shop and save 10% off your order.

Allow a little wiggle room in your budget. If you plan on cooking a pork tenderloin, but it’s not on sale when you go to the grocery store, have a Plan B, and be prepared to switch your protein. Plan a pasta night to stretch your dollar even further, and throw in fresh veggies to keep it on the lighter side. Skip the prepackaged garlic bread, and make your own by sprinkling garlic powder over buttered toast.

Once you see how easy meal planning actually is, you’ll never go back to last minute dinner plans, and running to the grocery store several times in a week. Go to the store once, stick to your grocery list, and make the meals that you planned. Eating at home will save you even more money, and your family will grow to appreciate the love you have for them by cooking delicious home-cooked meals!