Thrifty Thursday 03 – Meal Planning!

When I first began this blog, my biggest request was for how we save money on groceries.   Right now, the two of us spend under $200 each month on groceries.  I know this isn’t an outstanding number, but I don’t think it’s too shabby either!  The next few weeks I will be focusing on how we keep a decent food budget!

Meal planning, Thrifty Thursday, Financial Peace, Frugal MealsFirst up is meal planning! Here is my process each week: 

1) Check the pantry

Do we have some zucchini that needs to be used up?  Let’s throw that in some Alfredo.   Perhaps the soup we had on Thursday made four more servings than we had expected. Well then, let’s eat it up this week!   We always try to make the most of what we have – partially because we don’t like to waste food and partially because it saves us money!

2) Check the sales.

We use Target Cartwheel and Cub Rewards when we shop, so I always check the ads before I plan.   If ground Turkey is on an amazing sale, then we should probably have tacos this week! This helps us add variety into our meals, and also lets us enjoy our more expensive meals more often, because we know when things are on sale!

3) Grab the calendar

If I know we have going on in the week, I can better plan.  If Wednesday night Cody and both work late, but then we have Bible Study in the evening, we aren’t going to have time to make anything fancy – so let’s have grilled cheese and tomato soup.  If I have a provided staff lunch on Friday (which, thanks to our awesome Parent group, I often do!), then we only need enough lunch for Cody that day.  It helps to know what’s going on for other reasons too.  If I know that I’m going to be exhausted on Monday, because of a crazy schedule, then maybe that is a good night to do a low-maintenance crockpot meal! Plan according to your needs!

4) Look at our recipes and get to planning! 

Once I know all of the things going on and what food I have to work with, I can easily jot down a few recipes.  I plan very specifically. Each meal is assigned a day.  I can change days if I want, but if I have something set for each day, we are less likely to order a pizza or something!   I plan each lunch and dinner.   Then, for each week, I plan a breakfast (for example, muffins. We make them Sunday and they last through the week) as well as one fruit and one veggie for snacking on (in attempt to be healthy!)

From here, I make my list (which is another process I can save for another time!).

How do you go about meal planning? Or do you even meal plan?   What works best for your family?

Make sure you click the subscribe button to get the next parts of this series! Next week is on creating a price book!

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2 thoughts on “Thrifty Thursday 03 – Meal Planning!

  1. I think your $200/month on groceries is pretty darn good! In Iowa City, Michael and I tried to keep all food expenses (including eating out) around $400/$450, so dang, girl! I will say we did not pay as much attention to what were good “sale” prices, bulking up on items, or planning meals very well. We’d also often forget what was in our freezer or pantry, so I know we could do much better. Here in Vienna our income is going to be very different, so we’ve already started spending a lot more effort here 🙂

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  2. Because I live by myself, I plan my meals week by week too. I consider what items I have already and use them to decide meals, and then my my grocery list of just things I need. Most of the time that list is fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and replenishing items that last longer. I also go grocery shopping once a week to one or two places (Fairway and Trader Joe’s) so fresher items do not go to waste.

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