Meal planning saved my sanity. And I can’t not share this information with you because it just might save you from the rat race, too.
Today I’m sharing the exact steps to meal planning. I tucked a free meal plan template into this post as well so don’t miss that weekly meal planner.
Why I Started Meal Planning | Benefits of Meal Planning for Families
Today I am giving away $2600. Yes! Isn’t that great? I didn’t even tell my husband that I was going to do this (but he’ll be happy, I promise!)
How do you win the $2600??
It’s simple: Start meal planning. And you’ll save up to $2600 per year for a family of four.
By simply making and sticking to a meal plan you can save $50 per week for a family of four and that’s just on groceries, not to mention the added expenses of eating out due to lack of poor planning.
What would you do with an extra $2600 per year? Go on vacation? Buy a gym membership? Splurge on a personal trainer? Save for the kids college?
Whatever it is that you would do with that extra money is up to you. And, don’t you worry about a thing.
I’m going to walk you how to succeed at making a meal plan, how to stick to the meal plan, and because I’ve made plenty of mistakes I’m going to tell you what to avoid doing to save even more money using meal planning.
I have been meal planning for years and years and years.
Let me tell you how this all started.
I had a problem (a big problem!)
I was working outside the home and had no.time.at.all. Our mornings would start at 5:45am, and I wouldn’t step into the house again until 6pm. Our son was little and I literally felt like I was failing with a capital “F”.
I couldn’t get a dinner on the table for anything.
And healthy/hearty meal? Forget about it.
I had no time to get to the store. I had no time to make a list.
So when I did sneak in a visit to the store, it was a quick 25 minute trip that would cost no less than $45 (because, remember … I had no list).
I did this atleast three times a week.
Do the math with me: 25×3 = 1 hour 15 minutes and $45×3 = $135.
But …. no real meals. Only crap food because I wasn’t prepared.
I look back on this and as I put this story on “paper” it makes me sad. Sad that I had no time, sad that I was so unorganized and sad that the person that I was had to have been so anxious.
So, what did I do??
I took ahold of the meal time rush, and in doing so I took back my days, my nights and my weekends.
I started meal planning and being prepared.
I began actually thinking ahead as to what was going to be for lunches and dinners. I began not stepping foot into the grocery store but once a week, sometimes only going only once every 8-9 days.
It.was.amazing! Truly transformational.
What is meal planning?
Meal planning is the simple act of taking some time to plan any number of your meals for the week. You’ll plan extras for leftovers so you can have lunches ready for the week and you’ll even plan a night out if you wish to do so.
The best meal planner will have the grocery list made by the layout of the store.
Or, now you can even have someone else do your shopping for you and pick it up once they’re done. Read more about free grocery pickup here!— Steps to get started meal planning:
1) Choose the recipes you’ll be making for the upcoming 7 days.
– Take into account weather if you’re a weather-related eater (I am! Soup on an 80 degree day ain’t happenin’)
– Have your family calendar handy. This way you can make easy dinners (or a Crock Pot dinner) if you don’t have time to prep a meal and sit down as a family. These are the nights where a grab and go dinner like these Crack Chicken sandwiches are perfect.
– Write down what day you’re planning on having which recipe(s).
Get my free printable Meal Planning Template here!
2) Start your grocery list.
– Don’t start your grocery list until you know exactly what you’re planning on making.
– Make your grocery list in the layout of the store to save time
– Don’t forget to add in snacks and breakfast
3) Go to the store
And make sure to stick to your list!
4) Put Everything Away.
It’ no fun to buy double of anything. Putting everything away in it’s spot assures you that you won’t buy extra than you need (saving you big bucks!)
5) Relax and unwind
You rock! Your entire week is set. No drive thrus, no toast for dinner (unless that was on your meal plan of course!)
Benefits of meal planning:
– Save money
– Save time
– Save mental energy (no need to worry about what’s for dinner come 3pm, you already decided that three days ago)
– More family time (no time to and from a restaurant, stressing about when meals will be delivered, etc.)
Is there such a thing as free meal planning services?
Not usually. But as you can see, it’s not too terribly hard to do at home.
There are paid meal planning services. Two that I recommend are:
Eat at Home
Lazy Day Cooking Club
Is meal planning worth it?
When you learn how to plan meals for the week you’re going to see just how worth it meal planning really is! Save you time and running around You’ll also likely find that you and your family are eating better, too.
Is meal planning effective?
Meal planning is uber effective. You’ll love having a solid grocery list and you’ll absolutely love the limited trips to the grocery store (I Promise!)
Does meal planning save money?
When you have a list and you have a plan you’re planning to succeed. No more extras in the cart that are going to sit and rot anyways. No more unplanned dinners out because you have nothing at home to eat (spending $7.50 on a sub sandwich that would have cost you $1.10 to make at home).
Does meal planning work?
It sure does! I do it every single week.
Why is meal planning important?
I have mentioned sanity so many times and guys, it’s not a joke. Your sanity will be saved if you can learn to start with easy meal plans!