I am aware I am about to sound like a total nerd, but here it goes. I love to create weekly meal plans. There I said it. I know that it is a necessary part of family life, but I love it! Getting the weekly deals in my inbox brings a smile to my face because I know meal planning day has arrived.
For me, meal planning day falls on Wednesday, because that is when the new sales start at Harris Teeter (my favorite grocery store in Charlotte). So, I thought I would share some tips that I use. Weekly Meal Planning Tips:
- Know what’s in your pantry – this keeps you from spending money on something you already have
- Keep a list of staples you are running low on. I keep it on my phone for quick access.
- My biggest money saver: Shop on sale! I base my weekly plan on sale ingredients and save at least 30%. It helps to know when sales begin and end.
- Clip coupons! I know it seems like a hassle, but there are some great sites out there that make it easy! I save tons of $$$ by combining coupons with sale items!
- Check out store coupons. Harris Teeter makes them available online through E-vic. Clipping averted!
- Keep a file of recipes your family loves so you can access them quickly (I put most of mine on my Google drive).
There can be quite a few challenges to weekly meal planning, but I like a challenge! Here are the three main hurdles I face and my solutions to them:
Challenge #1 : Small sales ad – I am referring to when a grocery store runs a small sales ad that doesn’t include many items you use.
Solution #1 : Get creative! – Put together a list of low cost meals so, when there aren’t great sales you can still save! This is also a great time to try new recipes with the items that are on sale. You may try something you didn’t know you liked!
Challenge #2: Small Budget – I know from experience it can be difficult to shop on a small budget.
Solution #2: Stick to your meal plan! – This is the best way I have found to stay on budget. Create a list of every item you need and how much it costs before making a trip to the store. That way you know exactly how much you are spending and it keeps you from purchasing extra items. Note: Some coupon sites will list the exact sale price of an item or you can look at the sales ad.
Challenge #3: Time! I admit meal planning takes time, but it saves time too!
Solution #3: Make time to plan! I make my plan on Wednesdays because that’s when the sale ad comes out. I look at the sales then go to my recipe file, Pinterest, or cookbooks for ideas.
When I started meal planning as a college student, I was clueless. Now, I am so thankful I learned because I get to make good food without spending a lot of money or time worrying about what’s for dinner. I hope some of these tips and solutions help you. Happy Planning!
The Southern Bee