Meal planning doesn’t have to be expensive. Quite the contrary. Meal plans can actually save you money. The key is learning to make the most of your money. This begins with choosing key items from grocery store sales, planning your meals around those items, and knowing when to stock up. In other words, you can make a meal plan without spending a fortune.
When to Plan Your Meals
For many, the best time to plan meals is when the sales papers arrive. This gives you time to see what’s on sale and what you already have on hand. You want to set aside time each week to look over the sales, match coupons to the sales (if you’re a coupon clipper), and create a menu plan that works for that week. Remember to consider the weather for the week as well as any after school activities the children may have. This helps you plan a week’s worth of meals that make sense and won’t go to waste.
Which Items to Spend Your Money On
Each week, grocery stores have a few deals that are really great deals. These deals usually include some sort of meat, such as chicken breast or ground beef. Believe it or not, the store may actually lose money on these items, but the point is to get you in the door to spend money on other things. As a smart shopper, you go in and buy the best deals while avoiding the things you don’t need to buy. The front page of the sales paper is usually home to the best deals that week. However, sometimes different stores have the same things on sale. Always compare the prices so that you get the best deals.
How to Plan Meals Around These Items
Once you have an idea of the main items you’re going to purchase that week, check your pantry for what you already have on hand. If you can make meals based on the sale items and your pantry items, you’ll be able to spend very little money that week. Of course, this means keeping a well stocked pantry and there are certain times of the year that you’ll be able to stock your pantry on the cheap.
When to Stock Up
Holidays. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or Memorial Day, you can always find great deals during the holidays. With that said, the deals will obviously vary depending on the holiday. For example, the best time to stock up on condiments is during the summer holidays, such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. During the fall and winter holidays, you’ll find a lot of baking supplies and canned vegetables on sale. Last, but not least, Valentine’s Day is the best time of the year to stock up on expensive cuts of meat and seafood.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be expensive and you can even find weekly meal plans online if you don’t know where to start. The key is to grab the best deals from the store and pair them up with the foods you already have on hand. In order to do this, you’ll need to stock your pantry during the different holidays. This allows you to create delicious meals for a fraction of what people normally pay.