Meal Planning Day!

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.

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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