How Meal Planning Saves You Money!

Whether you are trying to build up your savings account or pay off a credit card, saving money is a positive thing to do! It's not always easy, but it's not something you will regret. Even the smallest savings add up over a period of time! 

One of the biggest expenses I have with my family is eating out too much! This always happens if I haven't taken the time to meal plan.  For the last couple of years, I have been very conscious on the kind of food I buy. I buy minimal processed food and buy organic for the most part. For this reason, it makes the most financial sense to cook in more than to eat out.

It's better for our health and saves us money! 

Here are the steps that I go through to meal plan for the week: 

1) Check My Schedule - Typically, I do my meal planning on Sunday afternoons. I look at the next weeks schedule to get a better idea of how much time I have to prepare for meals, this will determine if it's going to be an easy recipe or something more complicated that may take more time to prepare. However, I have to admit I go more easy than complicated most of the time! 

2) Check Freezer and Pantry - Before making any decisions on meals, I look to see what I have in stock. This saves money. I can meal plan around what I already have, then I have less to buy later. 

3) Check Master List of Meals - For some reason, if I haven't planned a meal ahead of time, when 5:00pm rolls around, I can't think of anything to make! It's weird... I believe having a master list of family favorite meals helps with this lack of memory!  I review the master list of favorites, my Pinterest boards, and I also use the Paprika App on my iPad to review recipes. With these three options, I am bound to be able to find at least 5-7 meals for the upcoming week.

4) Make it easy! - I am a simple cook, it's not that I don't like to try new recipes from time to time. I know my family and I  benefit from eating clean, which means spending more time in the kitchen, however, I still go for easy! One day a week, usually Tuesdays, we have tacos. One day a week, we usually have chicken. One day a week, we have breakfast for dinner. One day we BBQ.  That's 4 dinners already done. The other 4, I pick out by what looks good and I'm in the mood for.

If you don't really care much about variety, another way to make this easy is to decide on 14 meals and have them on a rotation every two weeks. I personally have never done this but during our busy times when both kids are in sports, I may consider it! 

5) Grocery shop - The last step is to put together your grocery list and go shopping. You can certainly look at the weekly coupons from your local store to see if you can save anymore money. Unfortunately, what I have found is most of these coupons are for processed food. But it never hurts to look! I do my meal planning for dinners. We pretty much eat the same things for breakfast and lunch. Usually, I just do a quick inventory of what we need and restock the staples.

Check out our Free Download - ADHD-Friendly Meal Planning Kit - Includes Tips on meal planning and worksheets to keep you organized! 

Until Next Time...

Take Care,

Nikki