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Budget to Save Money with Meal Plans

budget to save money with a meal plan

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groceries in a bag
One of our biggest expenses in life can be our grocery budget.  We all have to eat and in the day and time we live in, we often pay a great deal for convenience.  Although we love to eat and we eat good, it is possible to budget to save money by creating meal plans.  Several years ago, I posted weekly meal plans here on the blog.  Most weeks I still create a meal plan, and the truth of it all is, my life is better with a meal plan!  My stress level is less, my anxiety is less and I have MORE time when I do!

That all may sound crazy to you but when I carve out time for my meal plan, my life is better.  My days go more smoothly.  I don’t stare into the fridge or cupboards and wonder what in the world I can throw together that is good for my family.  I don’t do that because I know.  My meal plan says today is spaghetti and meatballs with green beans and salad.  I know what I need to prep the night before or morning of so that I can be ready to prepare a meal at dinner time.

Now onto WHY it is good for the pocket-book!  If you don’t currently meal plan, I challenge you to save all your grocery receipts, including take-out for the week.  Total them up and see what you are actually spending popping in and out of the store, grabbing things to make meals here and there.

The truth is, without a meal plan, I spend more than double a week on groceries. It isn’t that I don’t have things in my pantry to cook, it is that I am not prepared to cook them so I spend money I don’t need to, and perhaps don’t have.  It isn’t a good thing.  Thus the need for meal plans!

shopping list, grocery list

How to Budget to Save Money with Meal Plans

When I use to be on a very strict budget it was easier to stick to my budget when I planned the entire month and then did my bigger shopping twice weekly.  This allowed me to spend a little more on a trip when I would find awesome deals and then just fresh produce and milk the next.   Less trips to the stores means less spent, period.

It is usually cheaper to purchase a 5 or 10 pound bag of rice than to purchase a single pound.  However purchasing a 5 or 10 pound bag takes a bigger chunk out of your budget, that is why it is easier to purchase larger packages when you can combine two weeks budgets together to make those larger purchases at better prices.

It isn’t easy to just decide you are going to double your grocery budget one week so it means planning ahead. My plan is to start saving a bit of my grocery budget for the next three weeks so that I can be prepared for the first shopping trip of February!

Do you create meal plans?  How do you plan your shopping: weekly, bi-monthly or monthly?

budget to save money with meal planning printables

Here is a printable meal planner that can help you to get organized, buckle down and start planning to save in 2017!