So you are talking to your friend and when you ask what she is doing she tells you she is making her meal plan for the week. You have heard about it before but never took much time to actually sit down and plan a meal – for a whole week – A.WHOLE.WEEK. Meal planning is basically deciding what you want to make on what day of the week. People do it in different ways and for different reasons.
Some people plan the meals that they want to make for the week but do not designate them to a certain day. Some people plan each day. Some people only plan dinner while some plan every meal of the day. There is no set way that it has to be done. Some people meal plan because it helps them save time each day. It is nice when dinner is figured out ahead of time and it requires no thought while you are rushing around after a busy day, and you do not have the “oh no, I forgot to take something out of the freezer” moment. People, also, meal plan so that they can save money on their groceries. Whether you are trying to use up what you have in the house already or you are trying to take advantage of sales, it can save quite a bit of money on your grocery budget.
So let’s assume you want to meal plan because you are looking for a way to save time and money, plus you want to have the meal plan set for each day of the week. You change Is up whatever is different for you, but this is the way to get the most out of your meal plan.
First, decide it you want to have the meal plan in a book or on the fridge where it is easy to see. If you want it out, some people like to make it cute. Hey, why not. Here is a super cute free meal plan printable that helps you be organized and it looks nice too.
Take stock of what you have in the house to use first. This helps to ensure that nothing goes to waste. I get so annoyed when food is wasted in my house. All that does is load up my trash can and empty my wallet. Once you have looked at what you have, figure out what meats are on sale at your local grocery store. Decide if you are shopping at one store or many. Some people find that they get better deals going from store to store. While I can see that being the case, for me it backfires every time. I have buying impulse control problems and the more stores I go to, the more I buy. Plus, for me to save a few cents, while it does add it, kind of, see the last sentence, it also takes more gas. My stores are not close to each other. Once you see what is on sale, start deciding on what you are making.
If you have a lot of chicken and chicken is on sale, it might be smart for you to make a lot of chicken in your house that week. If you have people in your house that will complain, “chicken again!” why not jump on Pinterest (I have some great recipes in general on there) and see how you change up chicken so that no one gets sick of it.
Once you have decided what you are making with what, fill in your meal plan. Try to break things up. Try adding in a meatless day. It is a great healthy option and it also saves on your budget. Also, don’t forget to include sides. Everything written down makes it easier to get dinner ready.
Once the meal plan is in place, write your shopping list. What do you have on hand and what do you need to buy? Are there some things that need to wait until later in the week because you are worried that it might go bad in the meanwhile? Set yourself a reminder. You can write it in the edges of the of your meal plan or set a reminder on your phone.
Now here is the biggest thing I can recommend with the meal plan. REMEMBER TO USE IT! You need to check it the night before or in the very least, first thing in the morning. Is there meat that needs to be taken out? Are you using a crock pot so it needs to be set in the morning? The meal plan only works if you remember to use it.
Once you have the meal plan set, try it for a week or a few weeks. Is it saving you time? Is it saving you money? Come back and tell me!