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Meal Planning on a Budget

Weekly Meal Plans

meal planning on a budget

Before you make your grocery list, write down the meals that you want to make for the week. By having a meal plan and shopping for the week you’ll end up making fewer trips to the grocery store and buy only the items you need. Your meal plan is a key ingredient for preparing your shopping list and being able to stick to it when you get to the grocery store.

Have a look in your freezer, pantry and refrigerator and make a note of what you have on hand. You can save some money by using these items in your some of your meals for the week. Find a few recipes that use these ingredients so you can make use of what you already have on hand.

Do a little research and find some recipes that you want to try. You should be able to come up with some ideas for healthy and low-cost meals based on what you have on hand, what your family likes, and foods that are good buys. If you have some traditional meals that you prepare for your family, try making them a little healthier by adding fresh produce and spices. You could even grow your veggies and herbs in a family garden if you have room for one. Herbs will grow nicely on a sunny window sill.

Look at your schedule and pick meals that are easy to prepare on busy days and save the recipes that take longer for your days off.

The Grocery List

Use your weekly meal plan to create a list of groceries that you need to buy. Don’t forget to include vegetables, fruit and milk that might not be part of a recipe, but are some of the basics for healthy eating. Write down your grocery list, or put it on your computer or a free mobile app. Keep an ongoing list in your kitchen and add items as you run out. Try to organize your grocery list to make shopping quick and easy.

Read More About Healthy Shopping Lists

Make sure that you set aside enough time for planning meals, making your grocery list, and shopping. Short changing yourself here will cost you time and money later. Include healthy snack ideas, as well as main menu items. Consider the time of day, day of week, and even week in the month that you grocery shop. Grocery stores are usually the least busy early in the morning and in the middle of the week. Try to avoid the first day or two of the month as this is when many people receive pension or paychecks.