One of the ways that we are saving money is to make more food at home. This requires a meal plan. We have not been perfect in our goal to not eat out this month, but it’s definitely been better this month than in the past. Meal planning takes time, that’s for sure. However once you get your system down, it will get faster, and you will be so thankful that you did it!
I make our meal plan for the week on Sunday. Once I have the meals set, then I make my grocery list and will do my shopping usually Monday mornings once the kids are in school. This week I shopped Sunday, since they are off of school on Monday.
Meal Planning To Save Money
The first step is to gather the ads from the grocery stores near you. I am lucky to live in a town with several choice, including my favorite Aldi. I go through the ads to see who has what on sale each week, and typically plan several meals around that. This week a local store had chuck roasts on sale for $3.99/lb (which is the cheapest they ever are here). So we will have two meals using the roasts that I was able to get. If you have room in your budget sales like this are a great time to buy ahead and stock your freezer as well. For the most part, I get 99% of our food at Aldi though, and only go to other stores for their loss leaders. We also eat meatless several times a week to save on costs as well. Breakfast around here is usually not cereal, unless there is no school. So that is one thing that costs a little more. I want the kids going off with full tummies and sustainable energy though the day!
I use this Meal Planning Printable that I designed. There is a matching shopping list as well. Right now you can download yours for only $.99 ! I love having spaces for every meal and snacks. Often times I will pencil in meals a month in advance, and then adjust depending on local sales.
Once I have looked at what is on sale, I look to see what we have going on each night. Most nights one of the kids or myself have somewhere to be. Some nights after 7:00, however other nights we need to eat quickly and be out the door by 5:30. Those nights are always something in the crock pot, or super fast to make and eat.
Lastly, I always look to see what we have that I can use up. I always have things in the freezer, and try to have beans, rice, pasta, and other staples on hand. This way I am not buying everything for the week at once. Also, unless the kids are home from school, the lunches listed are what they are having in their lunch boxes at school. I tend to just heat up leftovers or make a quick spinach smoothie for lunch.
This Week’s Meal Plan
Breakfast – Cereal and Fruit (No school today, so this is a treat for them!)
Lunch – Homemade Mac & Cheese, broccoli, apple slices
Dinner – Orange Ginger Pork Lion, mashed potatoes, peas,
Snack – Easy Healthier Apple Crisp (Recipe coming soon!)
Breakfast – whole wheat english muffins w/peanut butter, bananas
Lunch – Ham & Cheese sandwiches, mini peppers, carrots, crackers
Dinner – Crock Pot Chicken Soft Tacos, chips and salsa
Snack – Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
Breakfast – Maple Vanilla Greek Yogurt, whole wheat toast, nectarines
Lunch – Salad, cottage cheese, dinner roll
Dinner – Black Bean Burrito Bowls
Snack – Celery with Peanut Butter
Breakfast – cheesy scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, pineapple
Lunch – Leftover burrito bowls, apple slices, carrots
Dinner – French Dip Sandwiches, Tator tots, green beans
Snack – Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies
Breakfast – Apple Walnut Oatmeal Muffins, Spinach Berry Smoothies
Lunch – Chili (in freezer from previous batch cooking), cornbread muffins, pears
Dinner – Vegetable Beef Soup, Simple Dinner Rolls
Snack – grilled nectarines with honey
Breakfast- cereal with fruit
Lunch – leftover vegetable soup and rolls
Dinner – pizza and salad (movie night)
Snack – popcorn
Breakfast – oatmeal with fruit
Lunch – peanut butter or turkey sandwiches, sliced cucumbers and carrots
Dinner- Spicy Beer Can Chicken, Garlic Parmesan Rice, Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Snack – Greek Yogurt Banana Splits
As you can see, we have two meatless meals as well as using leftover meats from one meal, to turn them into another with the soup. I hate throwing away food! I tend to intentionally make large batches of dinner meals to be able to use them for leftovers in lunches. Things like soups, chili, muffins, cookies, etc., will all be doubled or tripled to fill our freezer. Having these things in the freezer will make it that much easier to avoid the fast food drive thru on busy nights.
Look for recipes for most of these meals in the coming weeks as well.
I’m always on the lookout for new meal ideas! What do you have on your menu for this week ?