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Meal Planning to Save on Your Budget

– Posted in: family, kids, life, Managing Your Finances, Money Management

In a family world where we are all running 100 mph in various directions most of the time, food costs can become insanely high. Whether we are buying food on the go, ignoring sales, wasting leftovers or simply spending too much money on our food budget, meal planning can save us a ton of money on our budgets. Meal planning not only helps us with food costs…it also brings our families together. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Meal Planning to Save on Your Budget

The first thing you should do is gather information and share the plan

Sit down with every member of your family and explain that you are going to start meal planning. Find out what their favorites are and write it all down. Explain to them that you will be making meals regularly and that they will be expected to be there at a set time each day of the week. This time can be adjusted daily with a family calendar that should be posted in plain view. Family eating should be done together whenever possible. It regulates food consumption and boosts family closeness and communication too.

Make a list each month/week

Once you have your list together of the things you want to eat regularly, it is time to make your list. Go down the list of each recipe and “cook” it in your mind. This will help you to avoid forgetting small ingredients and wasting money and time on extra trips to the store. You can do this monthly or weekly, but take advantage of sales to buy in bulk when you can.

Take inventory of what you have

Never head to the store until you take a look at what you already have. There is nothing more irritating than to buy something twice. Make sure you are starting with a clean fridge, freezer and cabinets so you always know exactly what you have at a glance.

Get out your coupons and sales papers

Now that you have a clear list to go by, comparing and contrasting your coupons and sales papers will be a breeze. Meal planning becomes quite easy when you are organized, so take the time to keep this stuff in order. You can buy coupon organizers that make this super easy. Having the right coupon at the right time can mean huge savings each month. When you are buying on a plan and doing it once per month, you can make the time more easily to do it right.

Invest in some good storage for leftovers

Leftovers can be wonderful for the last minute eaters in the home and should be worked into your planning. When you buy only what you need and eat what you cook with regularity, you get healthy, save money and reduce waste. That is a good thing for everyone.

Ultimately meal planning to save on your budget is a winning proposition for everyone in your family. You will save money for sure, but you just might get to know your family members around the kitchen table all over again as well.

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34 Comments… add one
Robin (Masshole Mommy) February 5, 2014, 3:38 pm

I love all of your tips. I am SO bad about meal planning and I would probably cry about all the money I waste by making multiple trips back & forth to the supermarket for things I need at the last minute.

Ashley B. February 5, 2014, 3:39 pm

Agree with everything you said in this post, and what a helpful post it is! I’m great at everything but meal planning- I still need more work in tha area.

kay adeola February 5, 2014, 3:55 pm

Thank you for your tips i love to try and save as much as possible i always use coupons and shop when the stores are nearly at closing time in the evenings as they reduce a lot of products.

Terry February 5, 2014, 3:55 pm

I should do meal planning, but I don’t. At breakfast, my Hubs and I decide what we will be having that night for supper. We run to the grocery store A LOT.

Kristen from The Road to Domestication February 5, 2014, 4:14 pm

I plan meals every week, and we are also HUGE leftover eaters at our house! I need to get better at looking for deals, though.

Cyndie February 5, 2014, 4:29 pm

I need to plan more, iIalready use coupons.

Tabinda February 5, 2014, 4:37 pm

Great tips; should help us save lots of time and money.

Lawna February 5, 2014, 5:43 pm

These are some awesome tips. Honestly, I have been trying to cook more for my family lately because we were eating way too much take-out food. I have also been using coupons lately, which have saved me a ton of money.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell February 5, 2014, 5:55 pm

It really IS irritating when you buy something twice or forget to buy something you thought you had. That makes me crazy. I second your thoughts about good leftover containers too!

Grandma Bonnie February 5, 2014, 5:55 pm

Those are some awesome tips. I really do need to start taking an inventory before I write my list.

Michele February 5, 2014, 5:58 pm

Love all these suggestions-and you would think that there being only me and my cat here I would be able to accomplish this—-I really gotta try harder. I will say this-since I have been stuck inside due to snow I am finally eating foods that have been around for a while–(pasta, canned tuna etc)

Ave February 5, 2014, 6:21 pm

I am really bad at meal planning. As my husband is a really picky eater and changes his mind a lot, it’s hard to have anything planned. Thanks for great tips.

GossipMoms February 5, 2014, 7:09 pm

I am greatful for all the great tips, saving & on a budget is great, but the the inventory I really need to do that

Megan @ C'mon Get Crafty February 5, 2014, 7:39 pm

I’m pretty good at most of this, right up until the coupons. I stink at clipping AND remembering!

Rosey February 5, 2014, 7:55 pm

Inventory is a good one! I cannot count the number of times i”ve purchased something on a recipe only to find I already had it in the kitchen!

Sarah Bailey February 5, 2014, 8:15 pm

I am awful at meal planning I know I should get better at it as I know it would help in so many ways but I’m terrible at thinking well I don’t really fancy that today. lol x

Amber Nelson February 5, 2014, 8:37 pm

THose are great tips. Thanks for sharing! I need to get more organized with this.

Jennifer Williams February 5, 2014, 9:43 pm

I always make my menu on the weekend and plan meals that the leftovers from one can be used in the next nights meal. It keeps us from throwing out a lot of food.

Ashley Wintters February 5, 2014, 10:29 pm

I completely agree. I need to start doing this, especially with the leftovers! I always forget about them 🙁

Melanie February 6, 2014, 12:30 am

Meal planning is so important! Great tips, thanks so much for sharing them. I like staying organized with my meals

Onica {MommyFactor} February 6, 2014, 5:25 am

Meal planning can be so useful. I need to do more of this. Thanks for the tips

Fabulous Perks February 6, 2014, 9:10 am

Great tips. I don’t currently have a meal plan. So this is very helpful.

amanda mcmahon February 6, 2014, 10:56 am

you have some great ideas here to help prevent waste and make most of the budget.

Ashley Gill February 6, 2014, 12:33 pm

These are great tips! Thank you.. I am good at setting a plan and sticking to it but then i forget to set the next plan.. Me, yeah.. I’m very inconsistent. I need to get better at that. Your post made me want to plan the rest of this month! Thank you!

mel February 6, 2014, 1:21 pm

This is great advice. Always important to save money even when it comes to meals!

Marielle Altenor February 6, 2014, 2:52 pm

Meal planning is such a logical thing to do when you are a busy mom and have lots of mouth to feed. Thank you for sharing these tips to help us start!

Veronica February 6, 2014, 3:14 pm

I have to tell you that I am terrible with this. I would eat out everyday if I could afford it. Fortunately my meals comprise of fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds so not too hard to grab and go

Amberlee Cave February 6, 2014, 4:55 pm

I go through this every couple of weeks! It is so hard not to buy things you already have if you don’t check before you leave the house. We definitely need to save more money on food!

Nikki February 6, 2014, 6:35 pm

This is something that I really need to learn how to do better. Last-minute meals are costing me a fortune!

Mina Slater February 6, 2014, 6:40 pm

I haven’t planned meals in a while but I remember I was spending less when I did. We’re the household that forgets to check up on what we already have in the pantry. We end up buying things we already had pretty much every time it’s shopping day. I really need to try harder to get back on track with planning.

Tough Cookie Mommy February 6, 2014, 11:23 pm

These are some great tips for planning meals on a budget. Groceries have gotten very expensive so it is great to be able to save a little money.

Janelle @ Run With No Regrets February 9, 2014, 10:37 am

Meal Planning has really helped me! I’m making much healthier meals and my stress has reduced considerably since dinners are planned in advance. Great tips! Dropping by from SITS!

Karen Glatt February 16, 2014, 1:56 pm

I need to take an inventory of my in stock items because it seems that I am buying stuff that I already have. And making sure to eat those leftovers is very important. Not wasting food is huge in my family. I need to start better meal planning.

Deborah Boyd February 24, 2014, 8:58 pm

Freezing my leftovers help save on my meal planning.

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