Want to get better at meal planning and keep it in a budget? Then you’ll want to listen to this podcast on Meal Planning on a Budget where our resident foodie Jenn Dempsey shares her tips and ideas on not only how to meal plan better but to meal plan on a budget and it’s easier than you think!
One of the biggest benefits of meal planning is that you’ll be better prepared going into the grocery store not only with a list of items you need but how much you’re going to approximately spend. When you’re not prepared with a list and items you need, you randomly grab stuff which adds up. Before you know it you’re grocery bill is out of control and you probably didn’t get everything you need to prepare every meal.
Sticking to a grocery budget starts with meal planning. Once you complete your meal plan and grocery list with items you need to prepare the recipes, you’ll have a good indication on how much your grocery bill is going be. If you randomly throw items in the cart as you shop you’re just adding more to your shopping bill. It’s best to write out a list and stick to it!
Don’t be surprised how much your grocery bill is when you checkout!
Keep a tally of the amount you are spending using the calculator on your phone or even just dashes on a piece of paper on your shopping list so you know how much your spending. Utilize the top basket in the shopping cart for “extras”. After your have completed your shopping and have all the necessities on your shopping list and you’re under budget, then treat yourself to a few of those “extras”.
Know before you go!
As you are writing your shopping list write down on a separate piece of paper or next to the item approximately how much that item costs. You don’t need to be exact and it’s better to overestimate that way if the item is cheaper, on sale or you have a coupon you saved a little and you can use those funds for some of those extra items or to add to a savings fund!
Keep ingredients simple!
To stick to a budget don’t buy ingredients you don’t use often. A $5.00 bottle of sauce that you may only need 2 tablespoons of and the rest will go to waste is not the best value. Find a substitution for that ingredient or wait until you can find it on sale then grab it and add that recipe to your menu.
Also, use ingredients in varied recipes for the week so you use them up and they don’t go to waste. For example, if you’re buying fresh cilantro, make sure you can use it it more than one recipe so the rest doesn’t go to waste.
NOTE: Fresh herbs are great and add a ton of flavor and freshness to any recipe! You can find fresh herbs in your produce section usually in a big bundle OR in most grocery stores they sell smaller containers of herbs for almost half the cost which is a better value if you don’t need a lot of herbs.
If you love cooking with herbs then buy potted herbs so you have fresh herbs on hand year round!
For more meal planning tips make sure you listen to our MEAL PLANNING 101 podcast and follow our WEEKLY MEAL PLANS!