What to Cook for Dinner?
Did you know that you can save money by meal planning?
It really is not that hard to do. I am going to share with you how to meal plan. I no longer meal plan one week at a time but I do 5 weeks at a time. I will share this monthly menu planning soon. But I wanted to start with the 1 week plan first. If you try to go from not planning at all to planning for a whole month it can be overwhelming. I want you to be able to save money and provide great meals for your family. I think it is better to start with one week. So lets get started.
Step 1 Make Note Of What You Have On Hand
I take an inventory of what items I have on hand. I look through my pantry and make notes on what we have to use. Then I go to my freezer and write down what meats and meal kits I have in there. I will also make note of any bread or veggies that we could use to complete a meal. I also do a quick check in the fridge to note what needs to be used up and what will last the next week. Once I have my list of what I have on hand I got onto the next step.
Step 2 Make Note Of The Meals To Prepare
Then I take my list of what I have on hand and try to figure out meals I can make out of what we have on hand. I just jot down those meals that my family likes and that I can make with little to no additions from the store. Then I will add in any other meals to fill in the week. It is nice to have some cookbooks on hand or recipe cards to refer to, so I can start making my grocery list of what to purchase to make those meals. Once my meals are filled in for the week and I have my grocery list for my meals I go to the next step.
Step 3 Look ThroughThe Sales Ads
My next step is to look through the sales ads to find which stores have the best prices on what I will need to purchase for that week. Now I am not going to go to all of the stores. I will choose which two or three have the best prices on most things I need to buy and shop there. I will also at this point look on the computer for blogs with deals posts for the stores I will shop at that week. I will also plan which items I want to stock up on that are on sale. I also look for the coupons deals I want to get. If I find I have planned to make a chicken dish and have to purchase chicken but pork chops are on sale. I will switch my dinner to match the meat that is on sale. I will adjust my meals to match more closely what is the best deals at the store for that week.
Step 4 Get Coupons and Lists Together
After I have checked for the good deals and adjusted my meals accordingly. I will then make my list for each store. I usually will do this on one sheet of paper noting the coupons and price so if I find a better unadvertised deal at another store I can buy it there. I will then pull any coupons to match my list items. I will also get my coupons for any sale stock up items that I will be buying at each store. This way my pantry is always stocked with something new for the next week.
Step 5 Go Shopping
I usually will look at my week and plan my shopping trips to coincide with other errands I have to do. I may just take one morning to go to all the stores it just depends on my week. Also if you don’t like shopping more than one store you can price match at Wal-Mart or Target.
Step 6 Home and Happy
This last step is the easiest one. I just come home and put away my groceries. I know I have everything I need to prepare my family’s meals for the week without having to rush out last minute to get something to make dinner that night. This makes me happy and makes my week go better.
There are those time in spite of my best efforts I forget something on my list. I don’t run out to get the item I forgot. I just make do with what I have on hand.
What do you think? Is this a doable plan for you and your family. A little planning can save money and time. You might try it for a week and see how it goes.