Best Meal Planning Tips to Make you a Pro Day 5 – Stay Sane
If you are not a natural planner meal planning can seem frustrating which may cause you to give up. Keep in mind, meal planning doesn’t have to be hard and you can reuse recipes to save time. Try cooking the same meal plan for two weeks and double it for a month’s worth of meals. After you get the hang of it, add a few new recipes to your repertoire.
Meal planning is meant to help you save time and money but the first few hours of creating your plan and shopping may seem daunting, you will be glad the rest of the month because you will be on top of things and you will not have to worry about what’s for dinner or if you have the right ingredients on hand.
In today’s Meal Planning Tip we will discuss shopping and food prep for your meal plan. This may sound like an easy tip, but when you are planning meals you must consider the shelf-life of the food or you may end up wasting it…And of course, wasted food equals wasted money.
By now, you have an idea about why you should meal plan! It saves you time and money and you are WAY less stressed out when dinner time rolls around! If you are looking to save money, your food budget is always something you can cut! Through careful planning and shopping sales, your grocery budget will go down tremendously!
What is your food budget? How much do you spend on food per month?
If you want to save money on groceries, the first thing you need to know is how much you spend on groceries regularly.
If you do not know this number, that is okay. You can start tracking your grocery spending or you can do a reverse grocery budget. (Use credit card bills or receipts to see how much you spent last month or you can always do a rough estimate.)
Most likely, if you are new to this whole budget thing, you probably haven’t been paying close attention to where your money is going.
Yet, if you are in debt, cutting food costs is an easy way to save. You can pay off your debt with your extra money and still have plenty of delicious meals.
One great meal planning tip is to plan your frequency. This means how often you will meal plan. Your meal planning frequency will determine how much food you buy, how often you visit the store and your food budget for the meal planning cycle. There are people who meal plan every week or bi-weekly and some plan up to an entire year of meal prep (even I’m not that organized!) I recommend bi-weekly meal planning because it is easier to stay organized and you only have to go to the store twice per month.
Remember, the less you go to the store, the less chance you have to throw “impulse buy” items into your cart.
Keep in mind, you can double the bi-weekly meal plan to create a months worth of meals while only eating the same meal twice per month.
There are many reasons I meal plan but my favorite is ALWAYS to save money! Here at I Heart Frugal it is my mission to help you pay down debt and live within your means. Yes, you can live that debt-free amazing life you have always wanted! Nonetheless, many do not realize one of the easiest ways to slash your budget is to cut your grocery spending. Meal planning is an easy way to do just that! So today I am offering you a five-day Meal Planning tips series to help you meal plan with the best of them.
However, meal planning may not be at the top of your list of “fun” things to do today, but if you LOVE to plan, like me, then this will be super simple and easy.
Yet, if you are more of spontaneous momma, no worries! You can still create a meal plan and day by day, decide what you would like to make for dinner. Then you still have all your ingredients on-hand but you can eat whatever you have a taste for. This keeps you happy and away from the take-out menus.