One of the biggest aids in working with a grocery budget is meal planning. Or at least that’s what EVERY FREAKIN’ BOOK, BLOG, AND ARTICLE say, heh. So, I try my best to make and stick to a meal plan.
I’ve tried a couple of different ways to do meal planning. Ones where I plan out each and every single meal we eat, ones where I just try to figure out dinner and some basics to have on hand for lunches and breakfast.
In my opinion, going with trying to figure out dinner is the way to go. I got tired of writing “Coffee and granola bar” or “Sandwiches and crackers” every single day for the two “easy” meals. And when you find yourself being bored with what you are doing then you aren’t going to want to do it anymore.
My true goal is to do the monthly meal planning. I am so envious of the people out there who can go to the grocery store once a month and stock up, only having to ever go back for little things like milk and veggies. We don’t have the food storage, or freezer space, for this yet; but, I figure I could take bits and pieces of all the meal planning advice I’ve read from a multitude of sources and adapt it to my needs.
So, planning meals for a month means that when I’m looking at the sales for that week’s grocery run and I see that canned veggies are on sale for like 2 for 50¢ and I’m going to be making something that calls for a can of corn one week, a can of diced tomatoes another week and so on, then I can stock up then even though I might not need them for the meals for this week.
That’s also why I am trying to give myself a monthly food budget. Ideally, I’d love to get our food spending down to $30 a week or $120 a month. So I’d just have the $120 with me all month long for food groceries.
The hard part is me figuring out the non-food budget, but I’m working on it.
Here are some links to meal planning advice that I’ve found helpful:
- The Nourishing Home
- Healthy Momma
- Meal planning infographic
- Frugal Meal Planning Tips
- The Frugal Girl (although she doesn’t share her meal plans as much anymore, her archives are good)
- Once a Month Meals
- Mommy’s Kitchen
- The Nesting Place