Meal planning has saved us a ton of money. Besides that it makes it so much easier than sitting down every day and trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner with the ingredients we have. It also keeps us on track for healthy eating.
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Before I jump in, I wanted to let you all know that there is a free meal planning and grocery shopping printable for you if you sign up for my email list!
Meal planning is actually one of my favorite things to do. It makes me feel like a great housewife, but isn’t really difficult or stressful. I usually spend a couple of hours scrolling through Pinterest and trying to get Ryan to tell me what he wants.
As I mentioned in my Money Saving Grocery Tips meal planning helps our budget. It also helps us eat healthier. Plus, it’s really nice to ave an idea of what we’re having for dinner.
First I get out my handydandy meal planning form
As I mentioned earlier you can use the lovely printable I made for you if you sign up for my email list. It has one week work of days, but I generally plan two week at a time. I estimate how many times we will eat out and plan accordingly. Some people plan certain meals for certain days. I prefer to just come up with a certain number of meals and decide what we’re in the mood for the day of.
I pick some meals
Usually there’s meals I’ve been wanting to try, or meals we’ve really enjoyed in the past. I ask Ryan what he would like to have over the next couple of weeks. Then I hop on Pinterest. I try to do have fish meals and half chicken meals with a healthy mix of beef and vegetarian meals. Honestly, this makes it sound way easier than it is. I generally spend at least an hour coming up with 12 meals.
I think about breakfast and lunch
Rarely do I ever plan complete meals for breakfast or lunch. I have general ideas in place like smoothies or hard boiled eggs for breakfast and sandwiches or salads for lunch. Then I make sure I’ll have the right things on hand for those kids of meals. I never know what I’ll have time for in the morning, or how hungry I’ll be when I get home. Plus Ryan and I generally don’t eat these meals together. It just doesn’t make sense to put a great amount of effort into planning these meals out.
I make a grocery list
Once again you can get a super handy grocery list printable when you sign up for my email list! It’s separated into sections like “produce” and “dairy” to make your shopping trip even easier! I make sure to mark down how much of certain things I need. While you’re looking at your meal plan and think “ok I need avocados for these three meals”. You’re going to get to the store and think “did I need 2 avocados or 100,000,000?”
I stick to my list
It’s super easy to pick up a ton of snack foods or desserts or whatever. Maybe you get to the store and think “Wow! I have a great idea for a meal.” STOP! Don’t get the stuff! Write it down and save the idea for the next time around. It’s only two weeks away, and it will still be a great idea then!
I clean out the fridge before we go
I often get home and realize that something we bought we already had, or something I was sure we had has gone bad. Sometimes we have leftovers saved longer than we should, or things could be moved to smaller containers to make room. It’s always far easier to clean out the fridge before we leave the house instead of when we get back.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like How I Save a Ton on Groceries
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