7 Steps to a Weekly Meal Plan That Will Save You Time and Money
Wondering what to make for dinner? Do you need to stop at the store on the way home? Will everyone be home for dinner?
If you have a busy family, you know how difficult it can be to stay on top of shopping and cooking. From the end of the school day to bedtime it can be a daily jumble of tasks, appointments, and sports schedules. And, of course, everyone is hungry and they want to eat.
While we don’t always have control over our family’s schedules, we can do something to make dinner a little less hectic. Implementing a routine of using a Weekly Meal Plan will save your family both time and money. You’re probably thinking that you don’t have time to create a weekly meal planning, but actually, once you get in the habit, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.
To help you get started, here are a few steps to make the most of meal planning:
- Take a Look at Your Calendar
First things first, you need to make sure everyone will be home for the meals you’re planning. Keep a family calendar, somewhere it can be seen by everyone, where you keep track of meetings, activities and events going on. Then, plan meals for only the days and mealtimes that most everyone will be home. If only one or two family members will be around, you can always plan to have leftovers available.
- Check Your Freezer and Pantry
Save yourself some time and money by using up what you already have on hand. If you have ground beef and chicken breasts in the freezer, then plan meals around those proteins. The same goes for vegetables and sides that are already in your pantry or freezer.
- Check the Sale Papers
Check out your local store’s weekly sales to see where you can save money on items that you can incorporate into your meal plan. Most grocery stores post their sales ads online, so you can search for sale items and even special online only coupons.
- Decide What to Serve and Create Your Grocery List
Now that you have the foundation of your meal plan with what you have on hand and what you found on sale, it’s time to fill in the rest. Pick some of your family’s favorite meals to add to your plan. Maybe there’s a new recipe you found online or in a magazine that you want to try. If there’s a night you’re planning on eating out, you can cross that night off the meal plan schedule. And plan a couple of easy meals into your week like a slow cooker meal or breakfast for dinner to keep it hassle free after a long day. As you fill in your dinners for the week, start compiling your grocery list.
- Don’t Forget Everything Else.
Once your meals are planned, take a few minutes to think about what else you will need for the week. Things like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, pet food, and toilet paper. If you like having snacks and treats around the house, be sure to add those to the list as well.
- Post Your Meal Plan
Put your grocery list in your purse so you have it handy whenever you make it to the store. Post your weekly meals in a place that’s easy for everyone to see, like on your refrigerator. Now when it’s time to cook dinner, just simply check your Weekly Meal Plan and start cooking!
- Save Your Meal Plan for Future Ideas
At the end of the week, save your plan to refer back to when you’re stumped for meal ideas. Keep them handy somewhere you can easily access them. Try to add at least one new dinner every week to try something different. Before you know it you’ll have a great list of meals to choose from that will save you lots of time planning meals for future weeks.