Learn to Meal Plan on a friendly 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.
What I use
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 crucial 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.
Trying new recipes
While meal planning is very important in all its ways, its always good to also learn new recipes. This is what I love about planning my meals out for the week. I also get to search for recipes I could try.
Every time I make a new recipe, I always ask my family if they loved it. Most of the time they say “yes I loved it”. This helps me to place the recipe in my meal planning journal. If they didn’t like it, I simply list it under “dont make again”.
How to start planning your meals
To begin planning you need pen and paper. Simply go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Write down what you have on hand. Try to build a recipe using your on hand items. There maybe just one or two items for that recipe that you would have to buy to make it a complete meal.
Create a shopping list while going through your on hand items. When your done then its time to go thru local store ads. See what is on sale. Usually produce and meat items are on sale.
When your at the super market you may see a marked down pack of meat. In this case, be ready to substitute beef for chicken or turkey to save money. Keep on a look out for sale items that you can save money on. Use Flipp app on your phone to see all the store sales. You can signup for the FLIPP App here.
Choose one store to shop at one time per week, no matter what.
Use grocery pick service such as Walmart Grocery online, some are free and others a small fee.
Use a good size white board or create a menu planning binder.
Make a leftover night during the week.
Double up on cooking and freeze the rest. Great for busy nights.
Learn More about Meal Planning
Yippee! The bundle for Healthy Meal Planning is here. Life will be much easier in the kitchen now.