Planning ahead will help you save money in the long run and will also help with making sure you eat healthier and stay on track with your goals!
I will show you how I go about planning for my husband and I for a full month, my grocery list and how I stick to it! I started this a couple of months ago so that I could better budget and so far we have saved so much money by not throwing away as much food because we are using most everything we have!
I Started with a Simple Planner
I’m pretty sure I got this on sale at Target and bought it because I liked the color…little did I know I would use it as much as I do!
The nice thing about planners like this are the different formats for each month and tabs that identify each month. There is a large grid calendar to designate events on each day but the part I take advantage of most is the larger sections for each day that spans each week in two pages. If what I just said doesn’t make sense here is a visual!
These large spacing for each day makes it ideal for writing in recipes and what different ingredients I will need as well as what sides I plan on making with the main course. I also like to put in different instructions that I might need specific to each different recipe.
Now I find most all my recipes on pintrest because it’s the easiest place to find simple recipe’s for the week night. And I find it more fun to look through pictures of food rather than to look through website after website looking for different meals that sound good.
Being that it is summer time I have found a lot of different marinade recipes because we are doing a lot of barbequing. With the marinades I try to make sure that I can get them done the night before if not the Sunday before the week starts.
This is a photo of a couple of the recipe’s that are our favorite! Now this is from the previous month of June but once we find things we like I tend to put them in from month to month. We still get variety but we also get to have our favorites! On this particular week I had two different marinades, two crock pot meals (when my husband was working nights) and one easy meal that we dumb in a pan and back in the oven.
I found all of these on Pinterest! All are easy and don’t require a lot of ingredients or prep-work ahead of time.
Once I have gotten my whole month planned out M-F (I don’t plan the weekends just because of doing different things and not always being home to cook- we usually rely on left overs on the weekend or we wing it) I begin to make my list!
I make two different lists! The first is for all of the ingredients needed to make all of the different meals I have planned. Then the second is what I will actually need when I go to the grocery store. While I am working out my second list I go through my pantry and freezer and look to see what all I already have. This makes it far more efficient when I go shopping to only buy things that I need and therefore help me to stick to my meal planning for dinners. With this I don’t plan on the large items I will need because I plan to buy those things anyway; items like chicken, onions, potatoes, eggs, ect. I do a lot of my shopping at Costco so the large items that we use a lot of I make sure to purchase in bulk.
Now sometimes I will make a third list for perishable items that I can’t buy a month ahead of time or that won’t be easy to keep until we use them and that is the list I make for about half way through the month. Usually this is the smallest list because it only will have perishable items or simple things I forgot from earlier.
I have been doing this for about 5 months now and it’s been the biggest money saver! My husband and I actually stick to our planned meals and I don’t find us wasting money on buying things for breakfast/ lunch/dinner that we don’t need or that aren’t on the menu.
The other nice thing I have found with planning monthly is you can move different nights around and it doesn’t totally ruin your meal planning!
I hope you find this helpful for your budgeting and meal planning! This is really just a brief overview of what I do each month! If you want more in depth please leave a comment or message!
Keep an eye out for what is up around the curve!