A simple meal plan has drastically cut down our grocery spending so far this year. Grocery shopping was one of our biggest spending areas and we have managed to almost half it every month since February. As well as yellow sticker shopping, picking up freebies and couponing, meal planning is something I now do weekly to reduce our food costs.
How to start meal planning effectively
Grab a diary or planner. I like to use one that can be put on the fridge or hung up where the family can see, ours also includes a shopping list for us all to write down when things run out. My son has autism so he likes to know what we have planned for tea in a visual way, so for us this works well.
I personally only plan out our food for a week in advance. But I do know others who meal plan for a month at a time so just find out what works best for you.
Do a ‘stock check’
Before you write a shopping list go through your cupboards, freezer, fridge etc & find out what you already have in. If you have lot’s in maybe write it all down so you don’t forget. This prevents you buying double and can also kick-start your imagination for meals to make. This will also prevent food waste by rotating food before it goes off.
Grab a few recipe books or do a google search & start planning out your meals for the week. If you come across a recipe that requires a specific ingredient find out if you can substitute with what you already have. You don’t have to stick to a recipe 100%, you can get creative and use up anything that needs eating. Don’t forget to freeze any leftovers or save them for tomorrows lunch.
Write your list
When you know what you already have in you know what you need to buy. Check out MySupermarket before shopping if you want to compare prices, although I just tend to utilise the supermarkets price match service.
Meal Planning is such a simple thing to do and can save so much money just by utilising what you have in already. If you’re a student wanting to save money, planning out your meals like this is a great way to reduce food costs. Our food waste has decreased this year and our spending has dramatically reduced so it’s win win in my opinion.