Meal Planning On A Budget
“You can’t change anything when your ‘want-to’ is broken.”
Meal Planning VS. The Daily Dread
Most days around 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon a feeling of dread would begin to grow in the pit of my stomach. I knew it would soon be dinnertime; my family would be hungry and looking for something to eat. As that reality hit anxiety and guilt would begin to creep in because I knew I hadn’t taken anything out for dinner and I wasn’t prepared yet again.
My thoughts would immediately turn to my husband, he’s about as big around as a noodle and always has to have some full course meal or he gets as grouchy as an old wet hen. I would grumble to myself about his fast metabolism and think something along the lines of “I don’t know why he can’t just have a something simple, what a pain”. I knew I could get away with soup and sandwiches or something for the kids, but that just wouldn’t cut it for the hubby. I typically ended up in defense mode annoyed with myself for failing to plan dinner for the umpteenth time.
Why couldn’t I remember to plan for dinner? It was bad enough that through the week we ate lunch out that was costly enough. Now I would have to spend even more money for a quick fix.
When I forgot to take something out of the freezer or didn’t have what I needed for a meal it meant scrambling to the grocery store or picking up an overpriced meal from the nearest take out. With both choices I would have to spend a lot more money than if I had simply sat down at the beginning of the week and done some simple family meal planning. I needed to get this under control!
Budget Meal Planning An Age Old Solution
I knew I needed to find a solution and start saving money on groceries. Eating out for lunches and many times dinner was getting out of hand. What was it going to take to get us on track? As I began to investigate and look for solutions I came across the concept of family menu planning. What a novel idea, it’s only been around forever… Somehow I must have missed that in homemaking 101. I decided to give it a try; maybe it would make a difference.
Budget Meal Planning does take some planning and organization; it requires an investment of your time, effort and commitment. According to government studies, after housing costs food is the largest purchase most families will make during the month. Saving money on groceries via Budget Menu Planning is one of the easiest ways to trim the household budget. It is an age old solution that will save you money and frustration over and over again.
I made the commitment to be consistent with planning our family meals. I was eager to learn money saving strategies and find useful resources. Changing the way you think about a food budget and improving your shopping habits will definitely change your life for the better! Are you ready to make the leap to budget meal planning? Let’s look at the benefits.
Benefits of Budget Menu Planning
- Saves time –Shopping with a well planned list makes for fewer trips to the store.
- Saves money – Using your plan and a little organization there’s fewer impulse buys and expensive meals out. Learning to budget shop makes for big supermarket savings.
- Self-Empowerment – You’ve taken control; you’re saving money and taking care of business with healthier meals for your family.
- Reduces Stress and Frustration Levels – No mealtime guess work, no hassle, life is good.
- Creates Savvy Shopper Satisfaction – you’ll learn to take advantage of local sales, best buys and loss leaders. Your wallet will be fatter from all the savings.
- Users of Menu Planning SAVE an average of $40 per month
- After 30 minutes of shopping, Every Extra Minute in the grocery store Costs you $1
- Families that Eat Meals Together generally consume higher amounts of nutrients
- Children who eat with their family 4x/week tend to have Higher Academic Performance
Budget Menu Planning or Budget Meal Planning is not difficult; it’s actually more like going on a treasure hunt. You do your research, build your arsenal, gather your tools and start the expedition. As you trudge through the supermarket jungle its fun and challenging to see how much you can save or what treasure you can find. And when you come across one of those “are you kidding me” sales it’s exhilarating. In the beginning it takes some time with preparation, but once you have everything in place it will be easy to make your weekly plan. Any steps you take to move towards meal planning and setting up a grocery budget are steps in the right direction. You don’t have to transform your grocery shopping habits all at once, keep moving towards the goal; just get started!
Smart Grocery Shopping – Essentials Tools
- Make A Grocery Budget
- Weekly Menu Planning
- Master Lists For Easy Meal Planning
- The Price Book, A Powerful Tool For Supermarket Savings
- Budget Meal Planning Templates
There is no right or wrong way to set up your personal meal plan or grocery budget. As you read through the suggestions and articles on the site remember they are just suggestions. Ultimately your plan has to work for you and your family, so take what works and leave the rest.
By the way, we’re always open to new ideas so don’t be shy about sharing.