Moms know what it’s like to be on a tight budget, but planning healthy and nutritious meals are still possible with a little meal planning and smart shopping.
The first thing you need to do is plan out your meals for the week, or bi-weekly or monthly. I prefer to do mine weekly. I usually pick a Sunday to write out my meal plans. I want to encourage you by telling you it’s really not that hard. It’s just a matter of being organized.
You will need some recipe books or recipes you already know to choose from. Some pen, paper or use your computer. Choose what works for you. The main thing is writing it down somewhere. Choose some recipes that you know your family likes.
I have a notebook that I purchased for this very thing with the label on the front that say’s, “Family Meal Planner.” Write down the name of the recipes you plan to cook for that day, week or month. I write mine up for each day. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…. I like to designate each page as a day. I start with Monday and write down the recipe I plan to make and were I can locate it. Name of recipe book and page. Or if it’s a website I record the name.
I write down all the recipes I plan on making for the week. One on each page. I usually only have one meal that I plan for each day since breakfast is usually cereal, eggs, waffles or oatmeal. For lunch we have left-overs from the dinner before or sandwiches, salads or something pretty simple. So all my meal planning goes into deciding what to have for dinner each week. This makes it go a lot faster and makes it easier to plan since you are only having to think about that one meal for the day.
After choosing what recipes I want to make for each day and writing it down on the page for that week, I write down the ingredients needed for each meal. After that, I usually stop and take inventory of my pantry. I don’t get obsessive about it and write down everything. I just check to see what ingredients I already have on hand so I will know what I need to shop for. You can do this in the beginning, but I find it is better to already know what I am going to be cooking so I can look for those specific ingredients and see if I need to purchase them.
I place a check mark beside each ingredient I already have in my pantry or fridge and that way I will know I don’t need to purchase it. After going through each recipe and marking off what I already have on hand, I then sit back down and write down a shopping list for the week of ingredients I need. I also write down perishables and other items I know I need to buy to keep my fridge and pantry stocked. And that’s my meal planning process.
The next steps that I take are to help save money on my grocery bill. Once you’ve made a meal plan and are organized and ready to shop, the next thing you to do is use coupons. I purchase the Sunday paper and collect coupons from family members to use to help save me and my family money. You’ll need to have a way to organize them so you can access them as needed.
I have a small accordion file folder I use to organize my coupons. I use to have a binder, but found the entire process of cutting and filing all my coupons in a binder was to time-consuming for me. I still think it’s a great tool to use to help your family save money, but for me I just don’t have the time. Now, I use the small accordion type organizer and have set it up with general categories to organize my coupons. For example: Breads, Meats, Dairy, Canned Goods, Baking, Freezer, Beverages, etc….
This process works for me, but you will need to figure out what works best for you and your family. You can make it as simple as you want or as detailed as you need. Just use the method that helps you to access the coupons you need to save big at the grocery store.
I like to pull out all my coupons for products I know I will purchasing that week and put them in a separate envelope or in another small accordion style file folder. I usually always take all my coupons with me just in case I run across a deal and want to use a coupon to grab the extra savings when I purchase it. But if I’m in a hurry, I already have all my coupons that I need for what I will be purchasing for that weeks meals.
Don’t forget to also check online for coupons that are available for print. You can check here on my website for coupons during the week. I try to post as many coupon deals as I can find and you can also access printable coupons on my Facebook page at the top of my Timeline.
Start today to save your family money and save your sanity from worrying what to cook for dinner at the end of a long day, by implementing the meal-planning process and by cutting coupons. It just takes a little organization and planning, but it’s so worth it in the end.