I gotta tell you. I know that I needed to meal plan to help our grocery budget but I never made it a priority. I was always finding myself at the store without a plan and buying $100 worth of groceries only to get to dinner time and not have a clue what to make.
I would think of something to make only to find I had everything but one ingredient.
I would then make something else, or run to the store, or have the hubby stop at the store and then we got 6 more impulse buys and spent another $40 and still only got one meal out of it. FRUSTRATING!
Then we moved – uggggg. We moved a pantry of food that was still not being eaten but still had nothing to make for dinner.
So I went on a quest to plan meals around what we had in the pantry and get through that food. That’s when my meal planning started. I realized that it really WAS a good idea and have been meal planning well for some time now and its amazing how less stressful the dinner time is when I know what we are having ahead of time, I know that we have everything on hand to make it, and I can even do a step or two of the meal earlier in the day while doing something else in the kitchen in order to get a head start on dinner. I’M SOLD.
Meal planning was MUCH easier than I thought it would be. I admit, I had read the articles about meal planning, seen the meal planning services and kept thinking – boy, I really need to look into that. But I was intimidated. I figured it was going to be difficult and time consuming. BOY WAS I WRONG!
Once I got started and made meal planning a habit, it has gotten down right easy and quick. Now, I will admit, I have skipped some weeks. But when I do I almost ALWAYS regret it because I find myself right back in that “what’s for dinner” dilemma. Meal planning really does make the week easier. In fact, I would say meal planning is the #1 thing I have down this year that has made life less stressful and saved us money on our grocery bills.
I’m saving money. I’m saving time. I’m saving my sanity. It’s great!
If you have not tried meal planning, I highly suggest you give it a try. It’s really easy. Here’s is a good way to get started RIGHT NOW.
Let’s start with dinner planning.
Think of 5 meals that you like to make, the family likes, and is quick for dinner. I keep my recipes in a Home Organization Binder in the kitchen but whatever works for you.
So take those 5 meals and make a list of all the ingredients. Now check and see what you have on hand. Make a separate list of all the things you need to buy at the grocery to make these 5 meals. Write down Monday through Sunday on a piece of paper and write next to each day which meal you will be having for dinner. (I said 5 because usually you have a night out or a day or two of leftovers. Adjust accordingly.)
Once you have the 5 meals next to the 5 days you are having them write down what you are doing the other two nights (add another meal if you need to. But if you do, be sure to add the ingredients you need to the grocery list.) We use our Echo Show or Echo Dot so while i’m standing in my pantry and find i don’t have something, i just tell Alexa to add it to the grocery list. (I like my Echo Show because then I can scroll through my grocery list occasionally and see it easily.) It’s so great!
VIOLA! You have a meal plan for the week for dinner.
You can repeat this process for lunch, even if you pack your lunch or your husband’s lunch, write it down, it makes it easier. Now be sure to plan your grocery trip, add whatever staples you need (bread and milk) and get it purchased. Now you know what you are having for every meal and you know that you have everything on hand to make the meals. DONE!
We keep our meal plan on a magnetic dry erase refrigerator board. If we have a function where we will be eating dinner out I write it on there. Otherwise, everyone knows what we are having for dinner and I can look at it and know if I need to do something early. I also try to write on there if I need to get something out of the freezer the day before, that is helpful too.
Here are some great Meal Planning Magnetic Boards to consider. We love ours. It really makes planning and remembering easy.
Hopefully, you’ll give meal planning a try. Start with a week and see how it goes. You might be as amazed as I was.
Have you tried meal planning? Has it helped you and your family?