This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. Thanks for supporting The Little Frugal House!
Are you ready to stop wasting food, and save more money and find more free time?
I’ve been meal planning about 5 years now, ever since we got married. We were definitely on a budget, but I wanted to provide delicious, home cooked meals for my husband.
I started meal planning with a simple chalkboard in the kitchen and making a meal plan on Sunday.
That method still works great, but I’ve learned many more techniques to make meal planning even better.
We save money because I only buy the food I know we are going to eat. I don’t stress every night wondering what to make. And we don’t waste food because we have a plan to eat everything I buy.
If you want to save money, waste less food, and get rid of dinnertime stress, you have to try meal planning!
And that’s what you’ll find here in this Complete Guide to Meal Planning! So, let’s get started!
I’m so excited that you are ready to learn all about how meal planning can save you so much time, a lot of money, and reduce the amount of food you waste.
Meal Planning 101: The Complete Guide to Meal Planning
Why Meal Planning?
As I mentioned above, meal planning is an easy skill to learn that will save you money, help you waste less food, and get rid of stress.
By planning our meals out, I know exactly what we are going to eat each week. This helps me to know exactly what to buy at the grocery and how much.
Since we have a plan for each night, I don’t have to stress when dinnertime rolls around wondering what to make.
We rarely eat out since we have yummy meals planned each night with all the ingredients waiting. This saves a lot of money!
And we hardly ever throw food away because I only buy what I know we are going to eat each week.
1st Step: Make a List of Meals Your Family Enjoys
Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the meals you make that your family enjoys.
The easiest way for me to think of these is to go by categories like chicken meals, beef meals, pork meals, pasta, casseroles, etc.
Having this list is key to making a meal plan you will actually stick to. Without a list, I feel like I make the same 5 dinners all the time and get burned out on meal planning quick.
2nd Step: Choose Monthly or Weekly Meal Planning
There are 2 different ways to meal plan, and I often switch between them.
You can make a monthly meal plan or a weekly meal plan.
This month, I’m trying monthly meal planning since I’m working on the $300 grocery budget challenge.
Monthly Meal Planning
To make a monthly meal plan, you just need a simple blank calendar. You can find these on the blog here.
I like to use a simple calendar first to plan the meals, then write everything in my planner. That way, I can easily see the whole month at a glance and make sure we aren’t eating the same meals too close together.
Related Post: How to Make a Monthly Meal Plan
Weekly Meal Planning
The other option is to plan you meals for just the week ahead. This is easy to do, and you most likely know your plans for the week.
You can use your planner, a chalkboard in the kitchen, or this free weekly meal planner printable.
3rd Step: Time to Make Your Meal Plan
Ok, so you made your list of your family’s favorite meals and you are ready to make your meal plan – either monthly or weekly.
Using your blank calendar, your planner, or the free weekly meal planner printable, it’s time to make your meal plan.
First, write in meals you can make with the food you already have. Then, write in the rest of the meals using your family’s favorites list.
4th Step: Make Your Grocery List
Using the meal plan you just made, make your grocery list with only the ingredients needed for those meals.
Now you know exactly what to buy and how much to buy when you shop, saving you money!
Ready to make your own meal plan?
Once you get started, you will find meal planning is not complicated at all. Sure, it’s a skill that needs to be learned.
But, once you learn that skill, you will find your own routines that work best for you. Meal planning will come second nature after a few times.
I think you will find you save a lot of money, waste less food, and get rid of unnecessary stress.
Want to learn more?
Meal planning is a learned skill and habit. Keep making a meal plan every week or month to make this habit stick.
If you are ready to save lots of time and money, you will definitely want to check out my Complete Guide to Meal Planning Binder.
It has everything you need to know to save lots of money, find more free time, and quit wasting food.
In a easy to print and read format, you’ll be able to easily make a meal plan for your family. Having everything organized and in one simple binder makes meal planning so much easier and quicker.
Go make your meal plan and enjoy the time and money saved!