Are you trying to stick to a budget? Do you need to save money on groceries? Try menu planning!
I feed our family of six (including 3 teens and a 12 year old) for $125 or less per week, and the primary way that I am able to stick to my budget is by making a weekly meal plan. Here are three ways that menu planning saves you money.
Spend Less on Eating Out
It’s 5:00, you’re tired, and the kids are hungry, but you have no idea what to feed them. Looks like another trip through the drive thru!
Making a weekly menu plan will enable you to avoid eating out by default because you will know what’s for dinner, and on busy days you can plan to have dinner waiting in the crock pot. You will also be saving gas money by driving less.
Not only will you spend less on food, you’ll eat healthier as well. Most restaurant meals are loaded with salt and fat and are not a great option on a regular basis.
When you meal plan and cook meals at home you are able to make healthier options for your family.
Avoid Impulse Buys
Remember that time you went to the store for a gallon of milk and ended up with $30 worth of groceries? Menu planning helps you avoid those impulse buys because you stay out of the grocery store except for your once-a-week shopping day.
You will also spend less on groceries because making a detailed menu plan enables you to make a detailed grocery list which means you can purchase exactly what you need at the store rather than grabbing whatever looks good.
When I grocery shop I try to bring a list and stick to it! The only time I deviate from the list is if I find an item to stock up on that is on sale or clearance.
I remember once I was shopping and found several packages of steak marked down for quick sale. I quickly grabbed them knowing that I could freeze them and use them later in the month.
Use What You Have
Making a weekly menu plan enables you to take time to inventory what is currently in your pantry, fridge and freezer. You don’t buy a third container of chicken broth because you are aware that you have two at home. Using what you have enables you to spend less on groceries too.
When I make my weekly menu plan I try to plan at least 2 or 3 meals around what we already have in the pantry, freezer, and fridge. Not only does this save money, it cuts down on waste as well. I cannot stand to clean out the fridge and throw food away. It’s like taking cash and putting it in the garbage. So frustrating!
Why not give menu planning a shot this week?
The following was a guest post by Kimberlee.
Nicole @ Amazing Frugal Mom says
I’m doing my first month of menu planning, and I love it so far!