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You can definitely save more money by meal planning if you make it work for you. It can also help you stay organized, and save some time. There are resources out there that make it incredibly easy to meal plan.
The first is called eMeals, which is a great resource to help you with planning everything out. You choose the meals you are wanting to cook, it provides you with a grocery list, then you cook! It’s pretty simple. You can try eMeals free for 14 days to see what it’s like.
The second is called $5 Meal Plan! They have a premade meal plan for you to choose, or you can drag and drop the meals that you want to cook. It is made easy by providing everything for you, like the shopping list. Another great resource and you can try $5 Meal Plan for 14 days for free as well!
What is Meal Planning?
Meal planning is a way to plan out what you are going to eat, some time in advance. Some people will look at an entire month and plan their meals for the next four weeks. For instance, before the month happens, they’ll write down what dinner will be on the upcoming Monday the 1st, and the same for the 2nd, 3rd and all the way through the month. Others go week by week and plan the next week’s food around what is going on, and what they’ll need to do for dinners.
The main aspect of meal planning is taking the time to decide what you will plan to make and eat before you do it!
My Wife and I Personally Do Meal Planning
My wife and I have personally benefitted from meal planning and is something we still do today. We do our best to meal plan about once per month and plan each week the best we can. We find it beneficial because it allows us to save time and money.
Meal Planning Saves Us Time
Planning out our daily meals saves us time because it allows us to know exactly what we are going to cook on what days. No more having to decide on the way home what we are going to cook… we already planned it!
We aren’t perfect and it’s not like we stick to the plan no matter what.
Things change and we are flexible when things come up or need to change (sometimes we really don’t feel like having the meal we wrote down for that day! In this case, we may just swap days), but we stick pretty close to the plan and it does save us time in deciding what to do.
It also saves us time at the grocery store because we know exactly what we need to buy for the next two weeks, or month depending on how we are shopping.
This is also where the money aspect comes in.
Meal Planning Saves Us Money
In the past, we would just go grocery shopping and hope for the best.
We would guess how much we would need of everything and just buy things. This did a couple of things… but most of all it cost us money!
Normally, we would buy food that we wouldn’t end up using and it would go bad.
This was wasted food and most of all, money! We would also buy too much and our grocery bill would be high that month.
Meal planning really helped us with this.
By deciding in advance what we were going to eat and buying those items accordingly, no food or money goes to waste.
Why Should You Meal Plan?
Well, best of all it saves you money!
This is the Confident Money blog after all… so I am definitely in for saving more money! You will be able to plan effectively exactly what you are needing to buy. This will help you not overspend at the grocery store on items you may not really need.
You can save time too!
And you know what they say, time is money! With a shopping list prepared for you (if you use a program like eMeals or $5 Meal Plan), that can make your grocery store visit much quicker. Instead of walking around and hoping you got everything, you can use the provided list to guide you and ensure you got exactly what you need.
If that isn’t enough for you, you can reduce stress.
You know what that’s like… getting home and spending 25 minutes trying to figure out what you’re going to cook. Looking through the cupboards, pantry, and fridge to find something, then figuring something out, looking up a recipe, starting to cook… it’s a whole process!
With meal planning, you can reduce your stress by having everything prepared and planned ahead of time.
A Couple Tips For Meal Planning
Don’t Be Too Rigid
Your schedule changes, things happen and you may need to adjust your meals.
Trust me, this is going to happen.
Don’t be too rigid when it comes to your meal plan that you MUST stick to what is on the plan. Go with the flow, and work your meal plan into your life the best that you can.
Check Your Meal Plan Frequently
This really helped my wife and me when we started meal planning.
We place the “menu” for the week on the fridge or write it on our chalkboard, and check it the night before to prepare for the next day.
Isn’t it the worst when you forget to take the meat out of the freezer?
Well, if you consistently check your meal plan and make it a part of your routine, you can limit those forgetful moments! (Notice I say “limit” because no one is perfect and we still forget every now and then!)
Easy Ways to Meal Plan!
As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are some great resources out there to assist you in your meal planning and make it even easier. They are cost-effective and can be really beneficial. Here are two that you can try:
Have you tried meal planning? If so, what is your favorite part about it? If you haven’t, how do you think meal planning could help you? Let me know in the comments!