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A goal of mine this year is to save money on food. Our lives revolve around food, and it is something that is constantly on my mind. When it comes to what to eat whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snack, as a mom, I need to always make sure we have something to eat. We like to make meals at home, and on the weekends once or twice take a break and buy a meal somewhere. For the most part, we cook dinners at home during the school and work week.
Buying groceries can really add up, so I’ve really tried to find different ways to save money on our groceries. Here are 5 money saving steps to efficient meal planning each and every week.
Have A Weekly Budget
Set a budget for your weekly meals. You need to do this so you can set a limit on what you’re spending, otherwise, you will be out of money! We all go overboard when we’re hungry and at the grocery store, so having this budget prevents you from getting things you don’t really need. I set out to spend no more than $100 a week. There are 4 of us in my little family, 2 of which are young children. Be simple. Buy only what you know you will eat and keep it at a minimum. Not to mention, healthy. Fruits are low cost snacks and they are healthier.
Find Out What Meals To Cook
This is the most important step. Making a list of what you plan to cook and eat during the week will help you avoid spending more money. Cooking at home saves a lot of money, and it’s better for you too. Not to mention, you know exactly what is in your food! You can make it really flexible for you dietary needs. I typically seek out meals that have a minimal amount of ingredients. I also look to what I already have in my pantry and base a meal around those ingredients since I eventually need to use them. When it comes to finding meals, I turn to Pinterest, a blog called Budget Bytes and the $5 Meal Plan.
Finding meals on Pinterest is so fun, but it can be overwhelming. You literally can find so many variations of the same meal. It’s a great place to find new recipes too!
I love Budget Bytes because the cost of the meal (estimated of course) is listed out as well as the breakdown of the cost of the ingredients. There are so many recipes, and she even has a cookbook (which is great by the way – I actually won it from her giveaway!) with a bunch of recipes that are low cost and easy to make.
The $5 Meal Plan is a meal plan service that is $5 a month. Every week a new meal plan is released with an abundance of different kind of recipes. Also listed in the meal plan are the list of ingredients needed with exact quantities so you can take that list to the store with you and check it off as you get them. A great value for just $5 a month.
Lay Out Your List Of Meals
Once you figure out your meals, list them out. There are so many ways to do this – listing them out on a sheet of paper or a designated notebook for your meal planning too! I think writing it out on paper makes it easier so you can post it on your fridge and everyone will be able to see it. Or if you’re more of the digital kind, type it out on a spreadsheet and print it out too. Having a visual of your list will help you stay on track.
Make A List Of What You Need
Always have a list of what you need to buy before going out to the store. Otherwise, you will end up buying more than you planned. You can take your notebook with you list of meals with you or use the Notes app on your phone to list out what you need to buy. I personally use Google Keep and utilize the checkbox function so I can check off the things I put in my cart as I get them. This step will help you save money by not buying other things you don’t need.
Go Shopping Alone
Going shopping by yourself avoid you having to buy stuff that is not on your list. I’ve been through this dilemma way too many times when I’d take my family with me to the grocery store. I’d end up buying food that wasn’t on our list and the end total would add up. It’s hard for me to say no too when I’m with them. So I now go shopping for groceries alone so I stick to my list and budget!