Learning to Meal Plan on a Budget
I began planning my menus one year ago in March of 2018. I was and still is an amateur in menu planning. The reason for my planning menus is to save money and learn to budget better. One month before I started menu planning, I took a look at my mint app to see what I had spent in that month. I spent at least 1200.00 on groceries, dining out, and snacks. $1200 WOW! That is too much. I had to do something to change this.
What is menu planning
Menu planning is diligently writing down what meals you want to cook using the foods you have on-hand first for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner). I plan according to my work schedule only because my shifts vary. Everyone else at home have the same work and school schedules, except when one of my children is in sports in a season. My meal planning changes accordingly.
Your menus can be planned out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, it’s your decision. As for me, I only plan out dinners. Breakfast is always simple: bacon and eggs sandwich or cereal. Lunch is simple to, we like to have smoothies or left overs and sometimes Ramen Noodles with grilled cheese. Our dinners are always planned.
Most of the time, I use the crockpot, especially when I have the evening shift. The crockpot I use is the Power Cooker XL 9 quart. Using this is a life saver for me and my family.
Benefits of Menu planning
The benefits of menu planning has been so far GREAT. Menu planning is a bit of a work but very doable. It isn’t hard to plan out what you want to make for your family at all. I have been working on menu plans for about a year now. The first week was a little bit hard but it got a little easier as the weeks went on. As I was planning menus, I noticed my budget spending on food has decreased.
- One benefit of menu planning is knowing what your family is going to eat. No more, “what are you making for dinner Mom?” ever again. I created a menu board for all to see and it sits on the counter in the kitchen. Even I get to look at the board to see what I’m going to make. Very easy to create
- Budgeting is another reason to start menu planning. Before I started planning meals, I was binge purchasing foods just because its on sale or I have a coupon. Not knowing what we’ll be having for dinner each night. This absolutely ends up in more spending after you grocery shopped because you may need to go to the market and buy recipe items you didn’t have on hand. So start Menu planning.
- Saving money is another reason to menu plan. Menu Planning is a must when dealing with money. Knowing exactly how much you have for food is cruetail to setting a side money for other necessities. Maybe saving for a kitchen aide, adding funds for a graduate, or even for emergencies. You could do a lot by spending only on what you need.
- Eating healthy is the greatest of all in meal planning because you have got to eat right for your own body and overall health.