Meal planning is my favorite time of the week. I love looking up new recipes and strategically making a list for my grocery store run. One of my favorite things to do is cook and try out new recipes, which means I spend a lot of time at the grocery store! Before I got married I would go to the grocery store with no written list, just mental notes of what I needed. As someone who never followed a grocery budget and who didn’t always stick to a written list, getting married totally shook up my grocery routine. Nine months ago I was introduced to a grocery budget and husband who didn’t have the same eating habits as me.
I was determined to stay within our budget and cook meals that my husband and I both enjoyed to eat. Thank goodness he isn’t picky! Another problem I always seemed to run into was having leftover food I bought go to waste/expire. This was one thing I wanted to fix and make sure wasn’t a habit I brought into our marriage. I never had a bunch of food leftover in the fridge each week, but it was still money that would’ve been saved if I planned meals out before I went to the grocery store.
If you throw away expired food each week or find it hard to stick to a grocery budget, then these eight tips should help change the way you shop and help you save a little money each week!
8 Meal Planning Tips For Your Next Grocery Run
1. Set aside 15-30 minutes to look through your Pinterest food board or cookbooks. Mark pages in your cookbooks with sticky notes and save your favorite recipes to your Pinterest board. This helps save time when deciding what to make each week!
2. Look in your pantry and see what ingredients you have on hand. You may be able to utilize a few items for new recipes!
3. Choose 3-4 recipes that you want to make that week and write out all the ingredients you will need to make them. Lately I’ve used my notes on my phone to type out my list and use the check mark feature to easily check off items.
4. If you have go-to recipes that you and your family enjoy, write them down. It’s great to have recipes you’re familiar with and that you know will be enjoyed! It also helps relieve the stress of coming up with seven new dinner recipes to make each week!
5. Have a set day that you go to the grocery each week. This is something I am still trying to nail down. Moving to a new city and getting a consistent schedule is rough!
6. Stay within budget by writing out the ingredients you need for each recipe and STICKING to the items on your list. This helps to not break the bank and keeps food waste to a minimum each week.
7. Talking about food waste… hopefully you don’t have spoiled food in your fridge, but it’s always good to clean out your fridge before shopping to make space for the new food that will soon be taking its place.
8. If you’re trying to stay within an affordable grocery shopping range, don’t make Whole Foods your go-to grocery run. I am a Whole Foods junkie and will forever & always get a huge smile on my face when I visit, but there’s a reason people gave it the nickname Whole Paycheck. Find stores around you that offer the best deals and prices for produce and non-perishables and stick to those stores. If you have a few extra bucks after you visit a local Trader Joe’s, Kroger or Aldi, then by all means use your extra money to splurge on some of your favorite Whole Food items!
I hope these tips were helpful and can help you save a little money and enjoy some good food! Later this week I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes/dinners to make each week!