Affiliate links may used in this post, which means if you click on an item and make a purchase I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
I love to meal plan!! It’s one of the ways I help our family to save money. When I don’t meal plan I spend much more at the grocery store and I go more often than I want to. I finally decided to start meal planning after cleaning out our pantry one day, as I looked at all the expired food sitting at the bottom of the can I realized how much money I was just throwing away….and that was just the pantry, we don’t even want to begin talking about the refrigerator.
I decided I would start meal planning 2 weeks at a time, you can choose to start off weekly if that works better, or even monthly. Bi-weekly works best for us because I usually know what is going on 2 weeks out, not necessarily a month out.
Here are my top reasons I LOVE planning meals:
Saves Money- The number one reason I began meal planning was to save money. If you meal plan, you WILL save money. Make a grocery list with all the items you need to complete meals for 2 weeks. This list will prevent you from buying items that you do not need, try to not stray from what is on your list. This has saved me a lot of money, if I have a list I don’t impulse shop as much. Commit to grocery shopping weekly or bi-weekly, since you know what you will be eating each day there will be no reason to waste gas going to the store more often.
Also, take advantage of your sales advertisements. Look at them before you go shopping and see what items are on sale for a great price, then plan to make meals using those items.
Waste Less Food- We all have some sort of food waste. I try to prevent food waste by shopping my pantry, freezer and refrigerator before making my store list. I see what produce needs used ASAP and have dinners with those items included early in the week. If I see that I have excess of any item then I will include it in a meal (I check the pantry, refrigerator and freezer). If you make a meal that you would typically have leftovers with, plan on eating those leftovers for dinner or lunch the next day, if it is something you can freeze then do that.
Saves Time- All of our time is precious, just think about how much time we spend going to and from the grocery store several times a week. I probably used to waste 4 or 5 hours a week doing so. Not anymore though, because planning out your meals saves you so much time! It only takes a few minutes to plan out each meal, I might spend 30 minutes planning meals for 2 weeks. Sticking to your grocery list will save time in the store, as well as grocery shopping weekly or bi-weekly.
Makes Life Easier- Meal planning takes the stress out of dinner time!! I would much rather know what we are having and take the guess work out of it. If you know you are going to be busy one evening then that might be a good day to have leftovers, break out the crock pot, or plan dinner out.
Since I have started doing this for our family I have saved a lot of money, time, gas and I never have to think “What are we having for dinner?” because I already know.
Planning meals out really isn’t hard, it just takes a little bit of time. Once you start you will be glad you did! So let’s do this. Grab a piece of paper and a calendar and start your meal plan today!