It is true that you cannot buy everything on sale and/or using a coupon, so how else can you save money on your grocery bill? How about planning your meals out for the week? I have been talking about doing this for for a while now and I am ready to put my money where my mouth is. Here are some benefits and tips from a novice meal planner.
Why should I plan my meals?
- Don’t worry what’s for dinner right before dinner
- Save money buying what is on special and sale
- Save money by buying ingredients in bulk
- Allows you to take advantage of what is in season
- What you see if what you get so anyone can voice their opinion now of forever hold their peace
- Knowing what you are having in advance allows preparation of ingredients and steps ahead of time, if you have another cook at home before you, they can act as your Sous-Chef so dinner can be enjoyed at a decent time
How much cooking will I have to do this week?
Figure out how many meals in the coming week your household will consume from your own kitchen, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can use the spreadsheet above and ‘X’ out all of those days you are eating out.
TIP: Save time by cooking extra for dinner to pack leftovers as next day’s lunch for your kids, adults and adults that act like kids.
What do I want to eat this week?
Find recipes. I look for recipes online at Allrecipes, Epicurious and Food Network. I also enter ingredients into any search engine and you will find recipes at the top of the search. Check out this search for carrots, tomatoes and recipe, looks like tasty search results. You can also subscribe or view online my favorite cooking magazine, Cooking Light for a good source of tasty and healthy recipes. Scan your favorite cook books. Look for used cookbooks on the cheap at yard sales. You can find some great e-cookbooks at Amazon.com and sometimes they are actually free.
TIP: Store your recipes in a bound notebook to use while cooking. Make sure that it is bound so the pages do not get wet.
How much do I need to buy?
Based on your choosen recipes for the week, you need to cross-reference and take inventory to see what needs to be purchased. Enter these items on the grocery list portion of the spreadsheet. Save that list to your smart/dumb phone if possible and you will have your grocery list with you.
Tip: Plan to shop at the beginning and middle of the week to ensure that your food is as fresh as possible.
Who can I pay to do this for me?
Cozi.com is the only pay service that has been recommended to me. Please share your favorite online meal planning services and I will add it to a running list. There are also services that deliver groceries to your home. Become a member Community-Supported Agriculture and get baskets of in-season veggies delivered right to your door. It is a great way to support the local farmers in your area.
Please share tips on how you best plan weekly meals with health, taste and cost in mind.
I do love it when a plan comes together. – GreenUp! Guy