Meal Planning Tips to Save Money and Sanity

SIMPLE FAMILY MEAL PLANNING TIPS TO SAVE MONEY – MEAL PLANNER TEMPLATES Last Updated on January 1, 2020 by Jane 2 Comments Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Pin Save thousands every year with these easy-to-implement family meal planning tips! Did you ever have times in your life when you overspend at the grocery, only to end up not having something to eat later that week? And then you consider take out, which is more expensive and unhealthier, and then beat yourself up for not serving healthier dishes for your family? Sounds familiar? I was there once, too! Fortunately, there is a way around it and it’s super easy and effective: meal planning. I’ve been meal planning for quite some time now and this is, hands-down, my most favorite tip on how to save money on food. This weekly routine has been instrumental in helping us cut our grocery bill in half, from over $600 per month to $300, and at the same time in eating healthy. WHAT IS MEAL PLANNING? Most of us plan for essential things in our lives with such dedication, whether it’s your dream wedding or the ultimate family vacation. But do you plan for everyday events like cooking and dining? Meal planning is not as grand as picking the menu for your wedding, but it’s an important aspect in life that allows you to feed your family with nutritious and delicious food while allowing you to save time and money. Think of meal planning this way: you sit down on the table one night, pen and paper in hand, and then you try to figure out what to feed your family for the rest of the week. When you go to the stores, you know exactly which ingredients to buy, and you’re sure you’ll use every single one of them. Welcome to This Mama Blogs Play Video The main goal of meal planning is to reduce your stress and take the guesswork out of your meals. When you know what to prepare and cook, you become less overwhelmed and more focused. And if you’ve always hated spending time in the kitchen because of the sheer amount of work you seem to have to do, then meal planning could make cooking more enjoyable for you as well. HOW TO PLAN YOUR MEALS EFFECTIVELY You don’t need a complicated, elaborate strategy to pull off an effective meal plan. However, there are golden rules that you should live by to ensure that meal planning truly serves its purpose. 1. CONSIDER WHAT YOUR FAMILY LIKES . Yes, you’d like good quality meals that are high in nutrition, but we have different tastes. It’s essential to ask your family members what they want to eat at different days of the week, so they actually look forward to dinnertime. 2. ANTICIPATE NO-COOK DINNERS. There might be times when you come home late from work that you won’t have time to prepare a hearty dinner, or when the kids have events that you deem it impractical to cook for just you and your husband. During these nights, you might take comfort knowing that you can throw in a pre-cooked dinner into the microwave or come up with an easy instant pot meal that you don’t have to watch often. You’ll find relief knowing that dinner’s delicious but almost effortless to make. 3. BE FLEXIBLE. You might think that deviating from the meal plan is counter-intuitive from having one in the first place, but you have to forgive yourself sometimes. If you planned to have roast chicken for dinner but forgot to thaw chicken in the morning, then you have to cook something else. You can have the roast chicken the next night. Meal planning doesn’t mean your dishes are set in stone; feel free to deviate when the situation calls for it. PRO TIPS! USE IBOTTA TO SAVE MORE MONEY ON FOOD! Earn cash back on items you regularly buy at the grocery store, such as milk, bread, vegetables, fruits, meats, toilet paper, toothpaste, medicine or yogurt. Make extra $0.25 for each grocery receipt you scan through the app! Yes, it’s that simple and there’s no need to link a credit card to start using it. It works like couponing but more convenient! I’ve been an Ibotta user for over two years now and have earned over $800 in cash back from my weekly grocery purchases and bonuses! Join Ibotta for FREE and you’ll also receive a $10 Ibotta Bonus after scanning your first grocery receipts. Join Ibotta INVEST IN HIGH QUALITY CONTAINERS Having high quality food containers at your disposal is essential in keeping your ingredients fresh for days and reducing food waste. I use airtight containers or mason jars for fresh salads, and use Ziplock freezer bags for freezer meals. If you’ll be microwaving, freezing or using a dishwasher, make sure that your containers are safe for doing so, too. mason jars SIMPLE FAMILY MEAL PLANNING TIPS TO SAVE MONEY

Want to save money (aren’t we all)? Maybe TIME? Me too. If you like me…

You don’t mind cooking, you just don’t like thinking about it Luckily, with the meal planning tips below, you’ll be able to think less and save more when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking.

1. Schedule a time to plan

The number one rule to meal planning for beginners is to schedule out your meal planning time hebdomadally. The more consistent you’ll be, the more smoothly this may go.

So take a while to write down down your plan. I really like this cute pad (pictured above)… I don’t know why, but when you’ve got something cute to figure with, it seems to form the meal planning more fun!

While you’re making your plan, check out your schedule and choose what percentage meals you would like to plan – some meals will yield leftovers, so you’ll plan fewer meals (Yay leftovers!), otherwise, you may have dinner plans with people or other activities some nights.

2. Plan Food Scraps

One of the downfalls of many meal plans is the inability to plan food leftovers! Be it spaghetti or casserole, you will usually have food leftovers at least once each week. Failing to prepare for leftovers the inevitable food will cause you to waste food and spend more money on food you don’t need!

3. Pick easy recipes

Estimate what proportion time will you’ve got to organize your meals and choose recipes that slot in your schedule. If you recognize you’re getting to be busy, don’t plan elaborate meals for the week. Be realistic… are you actually getting to have TIME to make a meal that takes two hours to prep, 5 nights a week? If you’ll do that… props to you! But I do know for an incontrovertible fact that I can’t!

Instead, pick some easy recipes that need little effort. Slow cooker recipes, instant pot recipes, and 30-minute meals are getting to be the bread and butter of your meal schedule. Learn to like them!

4. Use your Ingredients

If you have a prescription that requires spinach, don’t let the rest be pointless! Plan a spinach-based salad or put it into a smoothie!

This can help you save your grocery bills because you’ll only buy what you need, and spend every last bit of the material you buy. You’ve spent your hard-earned money on them, don’t let them be wasted!

5. Shop Your Stock First

Before you make a meal plan, look-see your home and see what you already have. Is there any food you can consume? If the answer is no, see if you are just a few ingredients to make food.

This can be a great way to save on eating planning by avoiding stores. It will also help you avoid leftover food. You may have more food at home than you think! This is a vital tip if you plan on eating on a budget.

6. Has a theme

Another fun way to make choosing a recipe easier is to set a theme for each day of the week (i.e. breakfast for dinner, evening salad, Mexican night).

7. Register your favorite Recipes

Continuing from the tip above, it is much easier and faster to choose your prescription when you’ve made it listed. Trying to bring out ideas outside your head is too complicated.

By making a list of your favorite recipes and your family, when it comes time to make your meal schedule, you can see the list and choose the one you want to make that week!

8. Check the weather

Speaking of recipes, before you decide on your meal schedule for the week, check the weather forecast. Various conditions can make you want certain foods.

For example, if it’s going to be a rainy week you might want to plan a soup one night. If it’s going to be warm, you might want to bake something, and so on.

9. Try overlapping materials

Choosing a recipe for this week with some of the same ingredients will minimize how many items you need to buy. Plus, if you change your mind on a prescription, you can easily change it with a versatile ingredient.

10. Prepare meals First

On one of your holidays, take the time to prepare the ingredients you’ve bought for a week. Cook and season beef and/or chicken, cut vegetables first, etc.

You can even take this time to freeze certain ingredients if you buy in bulk.

11. Plan your meal plan around the sale

After I finished looking at what I had around my house, I issued a weekly ad for my grocery store. This lets me see what’s sold for a week to help give me an idea of what I should make. I call it planning a budget meal!

12. Prepare extra Food

With some recipes (food freezer!) You can make it double (or so), then freeze the portion that you didn’t use that night and save it for next week or next month. Having some food freezer on hand can save you on a very busy night.

13. Make Breakfast simple stay

When looking for something to add to our breakfast portion of the meal plan, we tried to keep things simple. When the morning arrives, the last thing I want to do is prepare something for breakfast, so having something quick is helpful.

14. Wrap your snack while you travel

One of the main reasons people eat out is because they don’t plan to travel out. If you have a lot of tasks to run and can’t get home for lunch, you’ll eat out guaranteed.

Before you go, make sure to pack your own snacks that contain protein to help keep your energy and hunger. It will keep you tense until you can complete the task and go home!

Be sure to drink plenty of water and dehydration can make you feel hungry! I always bring bottled water when I go.

15. Use Prepare

One very amazing thing you can do at Prepear is to build your weekly meal plan right in the app. Just find your recipes inside the app and add them to your schedule! Then, Prepear will create a grocery list for you.

If you have Prepear Gold, everything becomes easier. You can browse the food package market in the app to find hundreds of different pre-built food packages! You don’t know how much time this will save you.

Conclusion

When done right, meal planning shouldn’t be boring. If you’re planning food properly, you can save money on shopping for everyday needs, and save stress as you have to make something new every day!

Now you have read our super simple meal planning tips and you have an idea on how to make a meal plan, now it’s time to take action! Don’t wait until next week to start planning your meal, get started today!

Also, remember to try and have fun with your meal planning. The more fun it is, the more likely you will obey it.

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