One way to save hundreds each month is with meal planning. Having a plan, even a loose plan, is a great way to save grocery money for several reasons. If you are new to meal planning, start small. Once you the hang of meal planning you can plan for the whole month and even do some freezer cooking to save time as well. Here are 7 reasons why you should try meal planning!
7 Reasons to Start Meal Planning
1. Saves Time. Lack of meal planning always has me spending time thinking of something to make. Then spending time seeing if I have everything I need for the meal. Then if I don’t, I have to either spend time thinking of another meal or spend time and money shopping. Spending some time planning out my meals all at once and shopping all at once (except for fresh produce) saves so much time.
2. The Whole Family Can Be Involved. My husband and I sit down and talk about what each person would like on the menu for the week or month. Kids are more likely to eat meals, they have helped planned and prepare. I like sharing the meal planning responsibility.
3. A Healthy Diet is Easier. When you have every meal planned out, including snacks, reaching for unhealthy food is less likely to happen.
4. Shop Seasonally. Getting in a dinner meal rut is very easy. When you menu plan you can incorporate seasonal flavors and meals very easily. This saves so much money.
5. Shopping Using Ads. Along with shopping seasonally, you meal plan using ads. I combine this with freezer cooking and I am set for a month a lot of times, especially when my favorite meal ingredients go on sale!
6. Experiment with New Dishes. One of the things I love about meal planning is that I feel more creatively. I mean when you have the same meals printed out in front you, you can see that your dining experience is getting boring. I like going on Pinterest and seeing what frugal (or not so frugal, so I am saving so much money) meals I can try. Check out my Recipes to Try Pinterest Board for inspiration. I have more than 1200 pins of tasty meals to try!
7. Can Coordinate with Schedule. If you know you have lots of after school activities, then making a crock pot meal would be better than grilling. At my house, I have lots of meals where I am the only one home, no need to make a huge meal, just a small one.
How to Start Meal Planning
Start small. Try planning a week of dinners using your favorite grocery store’s weekly ad. Have your calendar available so you know what events and activities are scheduled that would cause meals to be different than normal. Using your store ad, family favorites, and some new ideas from Pinterest, plan the seven dinners for the week.
Then make a shopping list for any ingredients you need to buy. Make sure to grab any available coupons to save even more money.
It is that easy. If you want to add some meal prepping, that is something you can do as well. One small thing I like to do even if I can’t prepare all my meals is to at least have the veggies cut up and divided for all the meals.
Print this FREE Weekly Dinner Menu Planner Sheet to get started!
Do you meal plan? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.
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