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Meal Planning and budgeting: They go together

A meal plan can save you money. If you are budgeting you need to do this

Even if you think you are good with budgeting, you may be wasting money without even realising it.

vegetable specials
Can you use all this?

My first time

The first time I created a meal plan and took the shopping list with me to the store and stuck to it, I spent less than ever. I didn’t have to worry about whether my card would have enough money in or not.

Feel like you are earning more

Since then my saving skills have gotten a lot better, at one time my eldest daughter even asked if we were earning more money. In previous months, by the last 10 days before payday the pantry cupboard, fridge and freezer were ‘empty’ and now there was food to be had all the way through to the end of the month.

More month than money

The truth is that the pantry while on the lean side, wasn’t empty but because there were no meal plans, what was in the cupboards didn’t seem like food, so we ate a lot of pasta in those days.

My very neat pantry
My Pantry cupboard is still the most organised place in my house

Alternative shopping

Literally from the first month of meal planning all that changed. I ‘shopped’ in my kitchen first and did an inventory of what I had. I took this inventory and scoured my recipe books, then stumbled across a site called ‘myfridgefood.com’. On this site you type in your ingredients and it searches the internet for recipes using those ingredients. I then drew up my shopping list for the items I didn’t have.3 Steps to Mastering Your Grocery Bill

In house trainning

I did have to retrain the family to not help themselves to whatever they wanted. The salad drawer in my fridge has been turned into a snack drawer. Anything in the drawer can be taken without asking permission first, the rest is off limits, without consulting me first.

Now that we have a meal plan in place, we are also discovering a hidden saving. There is almost no food wastage any longer. I only buy what I need, occasionally I will get something that isn’t on the plan. Often, this is the food that usually gets thrown out.

Planner on my fridge
Menu planning on a magnetic board and stuck on the fridge, so everyone knows what’s for dinner

My meal planning is not perfect, when I am stressed, or tired, I will either not plan properly, or just ignore the plan all together.

10 simple ways to save money with meal planning.

  1. Create a meal plan, whether it is a weekly one, or like I do, a monthly one.
  2. Based on your meal plan draw up a shopping list and stick to it
  3. Look out for bulk specials, then cook and freeze for later. Once frozen, you can put it into a future meal plan.
  4. When possible, plan using specials that appear in the local papers.
  5. Whether you have a meal plan and shopping list or not, do not shop when you are hungry, tired or feeling sick. You will then most likely not be able to stick to your list and you can end up buying food you don’t need
  6. Don’t go to the grocery store more than once a week if possible. A minimum of 10% of the final bill will be things that you don’t need but rather that you want. This is costing you money.
  7. If possible do not take husbands and children with, this definitely costs you more!
  8. Shopping in your kitchen, before you go out to a store will also prevent you from buying food you already have and then wasting it.
  9. Buying bigger size packages is not always cheaper. Compare the prices first.
  10. The store brand is also not always cheaper than the well-known brand. Check first.

A little change, can make a big difference.

A little change can make a big differencs

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