So you want to cut your grocery budget by a significant amount? First step: Meal Planning.

Meal planning is the best way to save money and eat healthier because it means you will skip fast food runs and processed, packaged (expensive) foods. You know what is even better? It means that you only have to ask that annoying question “What’s for dinner?” ONCE A MONTH! If you hate figuring out what to make as much as I do, you can surely appreciate that.

 

Meal Planning

 

So, how can you plan your meals for the entire month?

Step 1: Figure out your busy days.

These may be the same days every week or they may change with scheduled activities. Pull out the calendar (or the smartphone) and figure out what days you just won’t feel like cooking dinner. We all have days that are hectic. For me, they are Tuesdays and Thursdays. I KNOW that I don’t feel like cooking on those days, so what do I do? I plan simple meals that are easy to fix or made in advance. I just want to throw stuff together and heat stuff up in the microwave on these days because I know that anything else is just not going to happen.

Step 2: Make a list of meals (or skip this step and use my plan).

I made a list of 23 meals that I knew we would enjoy. I tried to stick to meals that use chicken or ground turkey because they are the cheapest meats I can find, although I did include a couple of meals that would use meat we already had in our freezer. My list only included 23 meals because I knew that we would be having Leftover Day and Salad Day once a week. These are my easy meals that I plug in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you don’t want to have a leftover day (I highly recommend it) or a salad day, you will need to repeat or come up with other meals to fill in your list.

Step 3: Create month-long meal plan.

Click here to download my monthly meal plan templates. The first one is blank and can be used to create your meal plan each month. Either print out multiple copies (one for each month) or laminate one copy and dry erase each month. The other one is a copy of our meal plan for March (complete with 31 days). Meal Planning can be tricky business. I started by writing down all of our favorite meals that I knew were cheap. For the most part, we only really eat chicken and ground turkey (sometimes ground hamburger if it is on sale) to save money. We never eat more than 4 oz per person, so I always have to divide out my meat in advance, but it is so worth it! Once you’ve finished your monthly meal plan, it is important to keep it accessible. For me, that means sticking it to the refrigerator.

You finished your meal plan. Continue with the next step by planning your shopping trip, and you will be well on your way to a $125 monthly grocery budget for two.

 

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest. Bobbie Gross

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