I’m a big fan of meal planning. I’ve been able to cut our monthly grocery bill in half by dedicated meal planning. I do my meal planning every week now. I toyed with doing it monthly but for some reason it was harder to stick to so I went back to weekly.
1. Make a list. Or two. I have a list of our family favorite meals and a second list of meals that I want to try out. I generally attempt to include one new meal every week. Some of our current family favorite dinners started out on the new dinner list.
2. Know what you have. I don’t overbuy as a general rule so it’s easier to know what I have on hand in the pantries, fridges, and freezers. When I start my weekly meal plan I check to see what I have first and choose dinners that use those ingredients if I can.
3. Be flexible. I usually don’t assign dinners to specific nights. I’m a rebel and if I see that I’m scheduled to make spaghetti on Thursday then I automatically want pizza. Ha! So I just choose the meals in no specific order. The only exception would be nights that I need to use my crockpot because of sports or activities.
4. Keep easy dinners on hand. I always keep the ingredients for a couple of easy, fast dinners on hand for those nights that just go wrong and the meal plan flies out the window.
5. Use a recipe app. I use a free app called OrganizEat and it’s amazing. I have all my dinner recipes organized into categories and I reference this app when I do my meal plan. It literally takes me 10 minutes to do my weekly meal plan.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be a chore or a pain. It can be so easy and extremely helpful, especially if you’re on a tight budget like we always seem to be. The kids are happy because their favorite dinners make it into the meal plan and Matt is happy because we’re not spending money eating out.