This and That

Money Monday: Meal Planning

Posted on: August 29, 2011

As I have mentioned many times, hubby and I LOVE food and as such food is usually the number one culprit when we go over budget. But I have learned that meal planning is a great effective way to stay on budget. Over the weekend I plan out what dinner meals I am going to make each day of the next week. Then when I go to the store all I buy is the ingredients for those meals. It also takes the stress out of deciding what to make for dinner at five o’clock every evening.

Before meal planning I would go to the store and basically buy everything just in case I was inspired to make this or that or something brand new during the week. Our pantry and refrigerator would overflow with food… food we didn’t eat or need…until it was too late and then the food spoiled.

Now, I know that meal planning may sound boring and if you don’t ever change your weekly meals then yes it will be boring. But as long as you have enough different meals in your recipe book to rotate each week it won’t get dull. Also every couple of weeks I try a new recipe and add it into the rotation.

Meal planning really helps keep your budget on track and under control. It also has helped hubby and I put food in the proper priority in life. We eat to live, we don’t live to eat

Some additional tips:

  • Only make one complicated recipe a week (complicated meaning uses a lot of ingredients). Making too many complicated recipes in one week can put you over budget.
  • Only make one expensive meal a week or every other week. You can’t cook filet mignon every night and stay on budget.
  • Don’t forget to assign one night a week as left over night. Besides getting rid of extra food this too will keep your food budget down.
  • I normally don’t get creative or complicated with breakfast or lunch. Because who doesn’t love a big bowl of cereal in the morning? No need to fix something that’s not broken!
  • I always buy generic brands. They are usually just as good as name brand items just cheaper.
  • Utilize frozen vegetables and fruit. Sure fresh is best but fresh can be expensive…very expensive. Frozen still gives everyone the nutrition they need and a thawed strawberry still tastes like a yummy fresh strawberry but at sometimes half the price.
  • You may have to go to more than one store. My main grocery store has super expensive fruits and vegetables. I shopped around and found a different store that has better prices. So I go to two grocery stores every weekend. Now, I do not advocate going to four or five stores because who wants to do that and who has that kind of time. But you may have to go to two to keep your budget on track and find the good deals.

Can’t wait to hear how this helps your budget. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Credit for teaching me meal planning goes to my mom. Dave Ramsey also promotes the power of meal planning and has tips on his website

3 Responses to "Money Monday: Meal Planning"

I love this! Just recently started to meal plan and have already seen a difference in our grocery bill!

It really does make a difference. So glad it’s working for you!

I love the left over day – makes a lot of sense. Hate to throw away food and meal planning is a great idea.

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