As I’ve gotten further into this whole wife and mommy thing, I’ve learned how important it is to have a plan (and budget) when it comes to dinner and meal planning. Since our household only has one income, I had to find a few tricks to make it work and when I did, I wondered why it took me so long! What had I been doing all those years?!
Make a list and check it twice. Seriously. Do not walk into a store without a list. This will help navigate you through every aisle and, as long as you have the will power, it will also help you avoid making an unnecessary purchases. Check each item off as you grab it.
Shop once a week. Going to the grocery store once a week will help you have enough food in your house — you won’t have too much or too little. It can also reduce waste, because really, we all throw a ton of food away — most often those items that we forget about in the back of the fridge or pantry. Before you go shopping, check to see what is still good in your fridge and pantry. When you meals for that week (going into detail next), make sure to incorporate those items you already have so you do not have to throw anything out.
Meal Plan. Sit down. Grab your local grocery store ads and the list you made of what’s still in your fridge. Find some recipes for the week that will work with what’s on sale. The goal is to have a plan for each day, for each meal, and for a few snacks. Now look to see what you need to buy at the store and ONLY put those items on your list.
Coupon. Most of the items I buy usually do not offer manufacturer coupons. However, my local store sends coupons in the mail based on what I buy. The moral of the story is to always check your coupons. If there’s something you usually buy, use the coupon. If there’s something you’re only buying because you have a coupon, don’t buy it. I learned that the hard way. Sure, there are always a ton of deals, but what good are those deals if the items you buy sit in the pantry or on a shelf? If you don’t end up using it, you just wasted money instead of saving it.
Bulk Buy. We feed two adults and two children right now and have a new baby on the way. Having a membership to a wholesale club is AMAZING! I purchase a lot of our meat at these types of stores because it’s cheaper per pound, then portion it up and freeze it. A few other great things to buy bulk are cleaning supplies, paper products, and drinks. We also purchase water, juice, soda, laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, and more! We don’t buy products that can go bad quickly such as produce, dairy items, and snacks.
These tips are fairly common, but really do make a difference if you actually put them to use. They’ve helped my family save money by not eating out as much, at least when I keep my meal plan in place. 😉 There are some days when mama wants or NEEDS a break and then we order a pizza, but it’s not completely out of the budget because we’ve saved money on groceries.
What are some other tips or tricks that you may have when it comes to meal planning or grocery shopping??