Day 3 – Create a meal plan
This post is part of the 30 Day No Spend Challenge
Day 3 – Create a meal plan
You have probably heard it all before, that meal planning is THE way to save money on your groceries! That’s because it really works. Without a meal plan, there is a good chance you will head to the supermarket with very little idea of what you actually need, and you will end up filling the trolley with things you don’t. Not only that, but you will also spend much longer walking around the supermarket wondering what it is you already have at home, and what you are going to eat for dinner over the next week.
The solution is to plan what you will be eating over the week, so you know exactly what to shop for. That way, you can get around the supermarket so much quicker, buying only the things you need and nothing you don’t, and walk out of the grocery store under budget.
So how do you create a meal plan? If you are new to meal planning, we have a meal planning printable for you in the printables PDF, otherwise there are hundreds of great printable meal planners on Pinterest. You will notice it has sections for breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day of the week, but don’t feel as though you need to plan every meal of every day of you prefer not to. It’s perfectly ok to just plan your dinners each day if that suits your lifestyle better.
Don’t feel as though a meal plan has to restrict your lifestyle, it should be flexible to fit in with anything that comes up during the week. If you prefer not to plan your meals by the day, instead make a list of 7 meals you will make over the coming week and buy ingredients for those meals during your shopping trip. That way, you can decide on the day what you feel like eating out of those 7 meals, and you will already have the ingredients ready to go.
To start your weekly meal plan, take a look at what you already have in the pantry, fridge and freezer, using your inventory lists from day 2 if you did them. Is there anything you already have that can form the base of a meal? If so include that meal in your meal plan. Next, take a look at the weekly supermarket catalogues to see if there is anything discounted that could form part of a meal, such as meat or an in season vegetable (bonus points if it’s half price). Finally, fill in the rest of the week’s meals with anything you feel like eating that week. It’s always fun to let each family member choose a meal they like and add that to the meal plan. If you have plans to eat elsewhere for any nights of the week keep those days free, there is no point planning a meal for a night you won’t even be home.
Now that you have your meal plan, take note of any ingredients you need and don’t already have on hand for the recipes in your meal plan and add them to your shopping list. Get into the habit of doing this each and every week and you will start to see the savings in your grocery bill add up very quickly.