I’d love to share some tips for easy meal planning! If there’s one thing I have learned about meal planning over the years, it’s that if you don’t do it, you’ll waste a lot of money and time you could have otherwise saved! I’m guilty more times than not of skipping meal planning, but over the years I’ve learned to be more consistent in order to keep my budget intact and serve my family timely, healthy, delicious meals! Keep on reading if you’d like to know my tips for easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy meal planning!
1. Make It Happen
Meal planning doesn’t happen without a smidge of effort on your part. I’m not going to lie, there have been times I’ve “meal-planned” walking through the grocery store, and those times I inevitably miss ingredients, buy double of something I already have, or make impulse purchases of something new to try that we never end up eating. Pick a time to sit down and make a menu and a grocery list, and carve out specific time for this task each week. In the long run, it pays off!
2. Choose Meals That Have Similar Ingredients
This tip can simplify your grocery list and keep your expenses down just a tad. I try to choose meals that have a couple ingredients in common, not just to save money by buying in bulk, but also because I can cook up a big batch of chicken or roast a lot of veggies at once, then store them in the fridge. Meal prep is then easier because I already have ingredients ready to go. You can also incorporate leftovers into other meals easily if the ingredients are pretty similar.
3. Have Some “Backup” Meals Planned
There may be days you don’t feel like cooking, or maybe you burned the meal that you had planned. What if you try a new recipe and no one likes it? It doesn’t hurt to have some hamburger helper or a frozen pizza sitting in your “meal archives” for these types of evenings!
4. Plan for One Week at a Time
If you’re new to meal planning, then it can be a tiny bit overwhelming! So start slowly. Plan a weeks worth of meals at a time. Once you get better at meal planning, you can plan for a month at a time, and incorporate crock-pot or freezer meals into your planning. Just start out small.
5. Make Enough to Have Leftovers
If you’re making a family favorite, be sure and make extra for leftovers! Having one night a week for leftovers or taking leftovers to work for lunch can save a little time and money!
6. Have a Designated Meal One Night per Week
Our family has spaghetti every Sunday; we have done this for as long as I can remember! I love knowing what to plan for at least one meal a week. Makes things a tad easier for me and I can plan ahead by making a huge batch of sauce and freezing it in individual portions.
7. Combine Coupons and Sales to Keep It Budget Friendly
It doesn’t hurt to take a quick peek at your grocery sale paper and the coupons you have on hand before you make a menu list out. If you notice that hot dogs are on sale plus you have a coupon for them, you can get double savings! I like to coordinate sales with my menu because it gives me ideas for what to make while saving a little money.
Easy meal planning does take a bit of effort, but with these tips, you can get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible! Meal planning saves you money, time, and of course stress over the old “what on earth should I make for dinner tonight?” question! I hope these tips are helpful for you! Do you have any meal planning tips to share? Thanks for reading!