UPDATED: Congratulations to the following winners of a copy of Saving Savvy! Winners are listed by comment number:
Winners will be contacted by email on how to claim their prize. Thanks to all who entered!
If you joined me yesterday, then I hope that you were able to find a little bit of time to go over your own grocery spending so that you came up with a nice round number that we can work with this week.
There is one way that you can cut that number down significantly, and actually, this is crucial when it comes to saving money: Meal Planning. (You thought I was going to say coupons, didn’t you?) Before you ever clip the first coupon, you want to get your head around meal planning.
Not many people go to the store with a list, but even fewer people go to the store knowing what they are going to be eating for the week ahead. Once you begin to meal plan, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without doing it! And you will be quite surprised at how much money, time, and aggravation you will save. The real bonus? Having a plan for dinner means you are going to be providing your family with an opportunity for time together. Here are a few simple steps that will help you get started.
Look at the calendar. First, you look at your schedule. For young families, you will probably be at home most nights. As your children begin to get older and involved in more activities of their own, you may only be planning for a few nights a week when everyone is at home together. So take a look at the calendar, and see how many meals you actually need to plan. Let’s say that my family is going to be home all week, but one night my husband is going out of town. That sounds like a night that the kids and I will go somewhere fun so that I don’t have to cook. So, I will only be preparing for six meals this week. If that is overwhelming to you, then just pick two nights and meal plan. Once you see the benefits, you will be more convinced how important it is.
Check your pantry and freezer. After I do that, I check my pantry and freezer for what I already have on hand for meal preparation. For example, if I have pasta and tomato sauce in the pantry and ground beef in the freezer, then I know that I can jot down “spaghetti” on my meal plan. I’ve got everything I need for that, and I just need sides, so I’m down to five meals. Also, I have a roast in the freezer. I’ll be able to cook that once, and morph the leftovers into at least two more meals. Wow—now I’m down to needing to shop for only two meals.
What’s on sale? The next thing I’m going to do is check my store’s sales ad and see what they are offering on sale this week. Chicken? Fish? Whatever they have at a rock-bottom price is how we will round-out our menu. You’ll find more tips on meal planning and some of my own weekly meal plans, with recipes included, in my book, Saving Savvy.
To get you started, I’ve got several tools, articles, and other free resources on my meal-planning page (including the free downloadable Meal Planning Calendar pictured at the top of this post). Tomorrow I’ll share more tips on how to navigate those store sales successfully, so that you not only spend less, but you get the very most for your money.
Prayer for today: Father, my Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord of peace—only You can restore order to my home. Forgive me for not recognizing the importance of our family time. I commit to you to be more purposeful in providing nourishment for those you have entrusted in my care. By your promises, I know You will honor my commitment to this family ritual and strengthen our home (Proverbs 14:1). In Jesus’ name, Amen.
ENTER TO WIN TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Finish this sentence in a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win one of two copies of Kelly’s book, Saving Savvy: “My meal plan for tonight is __________, but I wish we were having ___________!”