Meal planning is a great way to save time and money when grocery shopping. When you have a meal plan, you don’t need to think about what to prepare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, you won’t be tempted to buy groceries that aren’t included in your meal plan.
However, creating a meal plan for the first time may seem hard easy. There are some things you’ll need to consider to make a successful meal plan for your family.
How to Create a Weekly Meal Plan to Save Time and Money
It can be frustrating to think about what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Fortunately, creating a weekly meal plan can save you time and money.
Let’s get started!
You Might Also Like: The Meal Planning Planner
Creating a Meal Plan in 7 Steps
1. Make Time for Planning
As you practice, you’ll be able to complete this task more quickly, but if it’s your first time, start by setting aside at least thirty minutes per week.
You’ll need to compile a list for shopping, a list of what you have on hand, a menu, and pull it all together to make this work. So, give yourself enough time to put it all together.
2. Check Your Pantry
You need to take stock of what you have on hand now. In your pantry, fridge, and freezers. Be sure to mark things that are going to expire soon so you can use those fast.
By knowing what you have in the BACK of the fridge and pantry you can save money shopping and prevent waste by using those red peppers before they spoil.
You Might Also Like: Meal Planning Services You Should Try
3. Find Recipes
Take a few minutes and surf Pinterest or Google and find new recipes and meal ideas. You can even think about changing up some recipes your family loves now.
The one thing that derail everything is if you choose elaborate meals that will take forever to put together (and clean up after), you’ll defeat the whole purpose of meal planning – to save you time.
4. Include Your Family Favorite Meals
Including your family favorites in your meal plans is also a good idea. This won’t require a lot of work, and you’ll be assured knowing it’s a healthy recipe.
You can choose to make specific family favorites on specific nights so everyone can look forward to taco Tuesday or Pizza Friday. Once you’ve finished your plan you can post it on the fridge so you can skip the whole “Mom, what’s for dinner?” question.
5. Cook in Bulk
Cooking healthy meals in bulk is a time saver especially when you have a big family. Taking one day to cook all of your meals and freezing them in ways you can easily throw them together when it’s time will be a lifesaver on those busy evenings.
When you’re making your plan you might want to think in terms of meat and say you have 3 chicken meals this week, you can buy the chickens you need and cook them all at the same time, but use them for different meals.
Cook up hamburger meat and you can add it to chilis, spaghetti sauce, and more. Use that spaghetti squash with your spaghetti sauce and as a side dish for one of your chicken meals. Planning ahead, buying and cooking in bulk, and freezing meals ahead of time will all save you time and money.
You Might Also Like: 5 Meal Planning Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
6. Work With Your Ingredients
Make sure to incorporate what you already have, in order to cut down on your grocery bill.
There are so any times we have more than 1 jar of mayo open in the fridge or we buy onions when we have plenty already. Knowing what you have on hand and using it at the proper time saves you money.
And when you run out of something you need for a recipe, you don’t always have to head to the store – many times you can make what you need with what you have at home.
7. Shop Using Your Meal Plan
Always take your meal plan when you go to the grocery store (and your coupons). After all, what’s the use of a meal plan if you don’t use it?
This will also prevent impulsive buying, so put everything on your grocery shopping list that you need for the next week’s/month’s meals. This will also help you stick to your budget.
BONUS: 8. Know What’s on Sale
Before you make your list, check out what’s on sale at the store and try and use those things in your meal plan. You get extra points (savings – lol) if you find something on sale that you have a coupon for that fits in your meal plan!
Sale + Coupon + included in your meal plan = That’s a triple play and a way to save you a lot of money.
Coupons and your store’s sales circular are your best friends when it comes to meal planning.
Meal plans can save you money and time.
To make all of this easier for you – cause that’s what I like to do…
I have a free monthly meal planner you can print and use to get started.