Have you looked at your bank statements lately and added up just how much you spend on food every month? It’s pretty sickening if you can be honest with yourself. That’s where weekly meal planning on a budget comes into the picture. If you’re dedicated and disciplined then you can create a system that works for your family. But you have to do the hard work and keep your family focused on the menu for the week.
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Weekly Meal Planning on a Budget
Let’s get back to basics. You will need the following items if you want to be successful at this.
- Weekly grocery ads from the newspaper
- Several hours to plan, shop and prep
- An open mind
- Ibotta, MobiSave & Checkout 51 apps
If you aren’t already a user of Ibotta then you should most definitely get signed up. They are my go to grocery saving app. You can sign up here and read all about this app and more savings tips over here.
Use Your Local Grocery Circular Ads
In my little town of 13 thousand people, we have 4 grocery stores. 4! Chances are your town is similar or maybe it has more options. Especially if you have the option to use shopping clubs and such. So gather your local store ads together. A lot of times now the stores put them online! Bonus!
Plan Meals With Ingredients You Can Stretch Further
This is a must if you’re wanting to stretch your dollars further. Choose meals with similar ingredients. I have talked about this before and this is one of the things I mention in my budget challenge.
JOIN THE 30-DAY FAMILY BUDGET CHALLENGE
When you’re searching for recipes look for meals with the same type of meat. That is generally the first place I look to stretch my dollars further.
One example I use the most often (because my family loves these meals) are the following:
- Broccoli & Beef
- Steak Quesadillas
- Beef Stew
These recipes are a go-to in our household all year long. They can be made on the stove or in the crockpot to save time or change up the taste and texture.
Cut Out Excessive Side Dishes
Seriously. This is where people spend excessively. You don’t need 2-3 side dishes with every meal. Even my family has a hard time with this. If you want to be successful at meal planning on a budget then you will cut out the excessive sides.
Throw a bag of frozen vegetables (cooked of course) and some bread on the table and your family will eat it! You don’t need that $3 box of mac and cheese! Better yet make your own. My friend has a great recipe here.
Opt For Recipes With Pantry Staples & Fewer “Fancy” Ingredients
So this is tough when you’re a Pinterest recipe addict like I am. If you take a look at my Pinterest profile you will notice I have a board for just about everything.
The key though is to cook recipes with fewer “fancy” ingredients. Substitute out the things you don’t normally buy for something similar. Or omit it altogether. Anytime a recipe calls for cooking wine I use chicken broth. If it calls for fresh herbs I use dried.
Go with substitutions that make sense but aren’t expensive if that’s the route you are going to take.
I prefer to just stick to recipes that are based on pantry staples. Broth, rice, pasta, flour, seasonings, etc.
One of my absolute favorite recipes is Balsamic Chicken & Vegetables. It calls for chicken, vegetables, Italian dressing, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Those are pantry staples. I always have those things on hand so if I plan that meal for the night then I know I have everything on hand except the chicken and vegetables. I serve this meal with rice and garlic toast.
Write Your Meal Plan Down and Put it on the Fridge
If you want to hold yourself and your family accountable and have no excuses for weekly meal planning on a budget then you will do this! It’s easy and keeps your meal plan in the forefront of your mind.
Only Shop Once Per Week
This is yet another no-brainer. Don’t go to the store more than once per week. If you plan your meals out including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks then you won’t need to go back. The temptation will kill your budget! Write your shopping list out or put it in Trello like I do, be prepared and execute your mission.
Check out how I meal plan digitally and save massive amounts of time each week!
My Favorite Recipes For Meal Planning on a Budget:
- Buffalo Chicken Sweet Potato Noodle Bake
- Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- Wild Rice Summer Chicken Salad
- Balsamic Chicken & Veggies
- Broccoli & Beef
That’s it for today. If you’re in the mood for taking your meal planning to the next level you should take these suggestions and apply them to your family. Let me know how it turns out! You can join me & other moms just like you in my private Facebook Community.
Plan & Organize Your Recipes
Grab my Trello board and organize your meal planning for good.