If you want to do one thing that will trim your grocery budget immediately, start meal planning. It eliminates mindless shopping, where you find yourself with a pantry full of food but nothing to put together for a meal. It also makes you less likely to impulsively dine out because you don’t want to worry with coming up with something last minute.
Meal planning takes some time. Before I started using the Meal Plan Calendar I created above, it probably took me 45 minutes every two weeks to plan my meals. But now that I’ve created this calendar, it takes 15 minutes or so.
Save money. Save time. Double win!
How I did it:
1. I wrote down a list of recipes that our family eats regularly.
2. I created a Microsoft Publisher document with 1″ by 1″ designs with my meals. (Yes, that sounds complicated but that’s just because I’m comfortable with creating things like this. You could hand-write your meals on 1″ x 1″ pieces of cardstock and have the same functionality.)
3. I printed out my designs on card stock, and I cut them out.
4. I bought a magnet roll from Hobby Lobby (one side is sticky). I cut strips of the magnet and placed my pieces of paper on the sticky side.
5. The calendar I’ve used for years was magnetic, so voila! I placed each meal at the bottom of the calendar.
Since I meal-plan for two-week cycles, I took my regular meals that we haven’t had in awhile and placed them on the days of the week. As you can see, I filled in other days with meals that I didn’t have magnets for. Some of these were freezer meals that Tiffany and I had made. Some were recipes that I haven’t vetted enough to make my “go-to” list.
If you want to trim your grocery budget, meal planning is a must. It not only will save you money but it will also save you time.
What about you? Do you have any ideas or methods that make meal-planning easier?