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:
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.