Inside: Want to lower your grocery bill? Check out these simple tips for weekly meal planning. Meal planning doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort!
Don't you wish you could flip a switch and lower some of your bills? Unfortunately, so many bills are what they are. There is one bill you can easily adjust, your grocery bill. Which is why I spend the time that I do every week on my grocery bill. I can have a great grocery week where I spend $40 or I can go crazy and spend over $100. The nice thing about the grocery bill is it is very flexible, unlike your other bills.
You get to control how much you spend each week at the grocery store. You can shop at expensive stores and pay a lot or go to discount grocery stores and pay much less. You can plan and make everything from scratch or you can wait until the last minute and pay more for convenience meals. Because of this, I have found it is worth my time to sit down each week and spend some time for weekly meal planning.
Plus, it's not just about a lower grocery bill. When you have your meals and your week planned life just seems to go smoother. No more panic about what's for dinner. If you have a busy night you can plan your evening. If you are ready for a more productive year check out these simple tips for weekly meal planning.
Clean Before You Shop
This is my #1 tip to really help you meal plan and not get overwhelmed! I am amazed by what I find from week to week in my fridge and in my pantry. I recommend a day or two before you go to the store go through and clean out your fridge and pantry. Remove any old food that is expired or leftovers you didn't eat.
Next go through and make a list of food that will expire soon. You can use the soon to expire food to start a plan for the next week. If you have eggs that are expiring soon you can pick up some bacon and have bacon and eggs for dinner one night. If you have a bunch of veggies that are starting to go bad make a vegetable stew. Be creative to use what you already have.
Finally in your cleaning look for meal ideas from things that you already have at home. Sometimes I pick up everything to make a pasta dish only to end up eating out and not needing the dish. See if you have any meals that you can make without buying.
Save Favorite Recipes
It's hard to start meal planning every week if you don't have a list of recipes your family loves. I have found that keeping all of the recipes that you like in one spot makes it easy to go through and pick out meals. Since most of the recipes that I use now are from Pinterest I have a board for our favorite family meals. I don't put new recipes it in, only those that we have had numerous times and loved. It's a great way to keep track of your favorite recipes. Then when it is time to do your meal planning each week you can just go through the board and pick a few meals you know your family likes.
If you aren't big on recipes from the internet consider making a cookbook full of family favorite recipes. Every week when you are meal planning you won't want to spend your time looking through all the different cookbooks to find some ideas. If you have your favorite meals in one cookbook it will make life so much easier! I love this recipe binder as a cute and easy way to keep your very favorite recipes organized. It is a great way to keep all of your favorite recipes in one place. It makes meal planning a breeze.
Check Your Schedule
When you are making your meal plan don't forget to check your schedule. You don't want to plan a meal that takes a lot of work on a night that you have carpool or meetings. Make sure you plan around your life. Crockpot meals work great for those busy nights so you can still eat at home but don't have to do a lot of cooking.
I like to get an idea of my kiddos schedule and my husband's schedule before I start my weekly meal planning. Knowing everyone's schedule and who needs to be where will really help with your meal planning.
Try Freezer Meals
I love freezer meals! They make life so much easier. I often make a double batch of the meals I know my family loves. I freeze them to use a week or two later. Because of this I usually have 4-5 meals available in the freezer. Whenever I am doing my meal planning I usually just have us using a freezer meal on a busy night. I can easily use 1 a week and this makes weekly meal planning so much easier.
If you haven't tried freezer meals yet I would suggest My Freezeasy. They offer a free online freezer meal workshop that is awesome! You can make 10 freezer meals in under an hour. I have put together a digital recipe book of my favorite freezer meals you can get here at my store.
Whether you try a new freezer meal from Pinterest, a new cookbook or a service freezer meals will help you keep your weekly meal planning easy.
Write It Down
If you go to the store without a written weekly meal plan you will probably forget stuff and spend way more money. I like to write down my meal plan and have it somewhere where I can see it. With a written meal plan you know what you are going to have each day and be able to plan for those evenings.
If you have never had a weekly meal plan I suggest starting with this weekly meal plan printable. You can print it for free and use it to start your meal planning.
If you want even more help with your weekly meal planning you can get this meal planning kit. It's a great way to really get started with your meal planning and to get meal plan ideas for your family. I love that it has a full meal plan and shopping list for me to use when I am too busy to come up with a meal plan of my own. It's perfect if you are new to meal planning.
Get started on your weekly meal planning with these easy tips! Before you know it you will be a pro at weekly meal planning. What are your favorite tips for weekly meal planning?