I used to spend WAY too much on groceries every week.  I was relying on pre-made items and microwaveable food a lot of the time, and I found myself wasting food each week.

Sound familiar?

I have a solution for you – meal planning.

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Since I started meal planning, I’ve:

You don’t need to be a great cook (I hate cooking!) or a super organized person to start meal planning.  Anyone can do it!

So… where do you begin?  I recommend going through the following steps:

  1. Take inventory.
  2. Make a list of meals you can make with what you currently have.
  3. Write a list of meals and snacks you want to eat for the week.
  4. Create a shopping list.
  5. Buy items.

Do you want to spend less on groceries?

Download this free meal planning worksheet today. This resource will help you to spend less money, eat healthier, and save time!

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Take Inventory

What do you currently have in your fridge, kitchen cabinets, and pantry?  Make a list of all of these items.  Next, compile a list of the meals you can make with the items you already have.

For example, here are the items I currently have:

  • egg whites
  • peppers (red, yellow, and green)
  • hamburger buns
  • veggie burgers
  • chicken
  • mashed potatoes
  • Alfredo sauce
  • noodles

With these items, I could prepare scrambled egg whites, fried eggs, a veggie omelette, veggie burgers, chicken, potatoes, and pasta.

If you’re more of a cook than I am, you could probably come with all kinds of combinations with whatever is leftover in your fridge.

Plan

After this is complete, you’ll have an idea of how many meals you can make with what you already have – and how many meals you still need to make for the rest of the week. Write down the additional meals you’d like to make this week.

I hate cooking and I have a high tolerance for eating the same foods over and over, so my list is pretty simple.

 SundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
BreakfastToast + bananaToast + bananaToast + bananaToast + bananaToast + bananaToast + bananaToast + banana
LunchSaladSaladSaladSaladSaladSaladOmelette
DinnerChkn + potatoChkn + potatoChkn + potatoChkn + potatoChkn + potatoChkn + potatoFrozen lasagna

Snacks: fruit, carrots, nut/raisin mix, flax seed crackers, and (my guilty pleasure snack) soy milk/tofu-based (I’m lactose intolerant) ice cream sandwiches.

Make a List & Go Shopping

The next step is to create a shopping list.  What do you need to buy to make the meals you want to make?  Once you have your list, you can go shopping.

If you’d like to reduce your grocery spending, you could try finding a cheaper store (I recently started shopping at Walmart and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of their groceries), cutting back on pre-made items, and using a money saving app like Ibotta.

Ibotta is a free app that allows you to earn cash back on a variety of items at TONS of different stores, including grocery stores like Cub Foods, Hy-vee, Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Fareway, Kmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, and Trader Joe’s.

Download Ibotta using my link and you’ll receive a $10 welcome bonus once you start redeeming cash back offers.  I love being rewarded just for buying things I was going to buy anyway!

Related: Ibotta App Review: How to Earn Cash Back for Everyday Shopping

Meal Planning to Save Money

Meal planning has helped me to save money (and time), waste less food, and eat healthier. To start meal planning, follow these five steps:

  1. Write down the ingredients you already have.
  2. Make a list of meals you can make with the items you currently have.
  3. Write a list of meals you want to eat for the week.
  4. Create your shopping list.
  5. Go shopping!

Ready to begin meal planning?  Download our FREE printable to help you get started!

Do you want to spend less on groceries?

Download this free meal planning worksheet today. This resource will help you to spend less money, eat healthier, and save time!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

 

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