Weekly grocery shopping can be time consuming and frustrating without a plan. Taking time to create a list and the meal plan for the week will actually save you time and money.
Here are some tried and true steps in organizing your weekly meal plan.
Pick one day each week to complete your meal planning and grocery list. Stick to this day and you will form a nice new habit. You might chose the day your grocery store sales ad is released. (You can have weekly ads mailed to you or even e-mailed or you can physically pick them up at the store).
1. Check your supply.
Look what’s in your cupboards and refrigerator. This will be your starting point in deciding what meals you can put together with what you already have on hand.
This will also aid in reducing waste. Sometimes we forget about the half bag of potatoes and they eventually find themselves in the trash can. You will save a lot of money if you can avoid this costly mistake.
Check for regular every day items and whether they’re getting low and add them to the list (butter, milk, eggs).
2. Plan your meals around deals.
Now is the time to start thumbing through the ads. Or, if your store has their ads online, odds are they also have a “shopping list” option and you can begin creating your list there.
Your goal should be to incorporate the sales into your weekly menu.
You will save the most money if you create meals around these sales AND find coupons to double up the savings. I use my Couponizer to organize the coupons I clip from the Sunday paper, magazines and from online sites during the week. I’ll match up the sales ads with the coupons and sometimes I amaze myself with what I save.
3. Post your meal plan on the fridge.
Everyone will know what’s for supper. Also, this gives you a heads up to take what you need out of the freezer and start any prep work you can.
If you’re new to planning meals, just start with one meal (like supper) for the week. Once you are feeling comfortable putting a weekly menu together for that meal, the next week add lunch.
Save your menus for meal plan ideas in the future.
4. Make a list and stick to it.
This little tactic is another way to save big time. Don’t be lured into marketing schemes the grocery stores trap you in. Follow your list and only purchase what is on your list.
How often have you sent your husband to the store for milk and he returns with candy bars, specialty cheese, pretzels and milk? Try your best to stick to the list, it will save on your budget and your waist line.
5. Make room in the freezer.
If you discover an excellent bargain on chicken breasts or waffles, stock up! If it’s an item you normally purchase you can really help your budget by getting it while it’s on sale (with a coupon too if you’re super savvy)!
Also, you can prepare meals for supper while storing half or part of it in the freezer. Here are a ton of freezer meal ideas for inspiration.
Meal planning is fun and rewarding. You will begin to take control of your spending and your diet.
Please share some tips you have on meal planning. What are some secrets you use to get supper on the table?