One of the great things about blogging is meeting other people who share similar interests. I have met a frugal living blogger and some of our areas of interest overlap, so we thought it’d be fun to swap blog posts. So, without further ado, here is Amy from https://deliberatelyhere.com/
Time for a Budget
Have you ever read something that boasts, “How I feed my family of 5 for $150 a month!” and found yourself getting discouraged rather than encouraged because it feels like you’d never be able to do that?
I get it. I’ve been there, too. Although I haven’t found that magic button that will lower my husband’s and my grocery bill that low, I have picked up a few tricks along my journey of searching for frugal and budget friendly meals.
A few months after getting married I realized how crazy high our grocery bill was. My husband and I were spending more on our groceries than we were on our rent every month. It was not good.
We didn’t have a budget set in place, and since I love to cook and bake I would make frequent trips to the grocery store more times a week than I should have just to pick up an ingredient that I was missing – but I’d end up leaving the store with way more than I needed.
Do you ever do that? Make a quick trip to the store to grab one thing for dinner and end up leaving with $100 worth of groceries?
When I realized how much we were spending on groceries every month, I decided that we needed to change something.
The first change we made, after budgeting, was creating a meal plan.
At first I thought meal planning wasn’t for me. I thought it was going to hinder my creativity in the kitchen. After a short (failed) week of meal planning, I gave up and went right back to spending way too much money on groceries.
When I started my second go-around with meal planning I was determined to make it work. I was determined to cut our grocery bill in half. And you know what? Thanks to that determination, I did. I talk about meal planning in another post because this is so important to our budget (click HERE to read that post)
Related: Top 10 Reasons Meal Planning is Important. (https://www.stephshares.com/healthybudget/top-10-reasons-meal-planning-is-important/)
One of the biggest things that I struggled with when creating a meal plan that worked for my husband and I was finding meals that weren’t only budget-friendly, but were also good.
Meals that would actually fill us up, not just a bunch of leafy lettuce.
Is this something you struggle with, too? Whether or not you are a frequent meal planner, feeding a family can get expensive, so finding budget-friendly meals that everyone will like is imperative.
4 WAYS TO MEAL PLAN ON A BUDGET
FIND BUDGET-FRIENDLY MEALS
Finding budget-friendly meals was the first thing I started searching for, and something I am constantly searching for more of.
Thankfully there are all kinds of places that you can find cheap meals on, like Pinterest, AllRecipes, or anywhere on the web.
CREATE A RECIPE BANK
After you have found and made a few meals that you and your family like, start a recipe bank of your favorite ones.
A recipe bank is simple a place where you write down all your favorite recipes (whether on the computer or on a piece of paper) so if you’re ever in a pinch and need to find something to make for dinner you can look through your recipe bank and find a list of recipes that you already know you and your family like.
Keep room to grow on your recipe bank. Make sure there are lots of blank spaces available so that when you find new recipes you can easily add them to your recipe bank.
START A MEAL PLAN
Now that you’ve found some good meals, it’s time to finally create your meal plan.
You can do this in many different ways, whether you want to create one on the computer, or have a physical copy of one (I’m definitely a pen and paper type of gal myself) to hang on your fridge, you can do what works best for you.
If you don’t know how to set your meal plan up, you can find some great templates here (https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=meal%20plan%20template&rs=typed&term_meta=meal%7Ctyped&term_meta=plan%7Ctyped&term_meta=template%7Ctyped).
The thing I love most about meal planning is how customizable it is.
The options really are endless!
If you want to plan your meals for a month in advance, you can. If you prefer to plan week by week, you can do that, too.
Finding what works best for you and your family might take some trial and error, but as long as you stick with it, it won’t be long before you find the right fit.
MAKE GROCERY LISTS
After you’ve made your meal plan out for the week (or two weeks, month, etc), it’s time to create your grocery list.
For myself, making a weekly meal plan and going grocery shopping once a week works best.
Write down all the ingredients that you will need to make all the meals on your meal plan with no more and no less.
Going grocery shopping with a list is the number one way to save money at grocery stores. It enables you to know exactly what you need, and never buy something because “you might be running out, but you’re not sure.”
It will also help you be sure that you get everything you need so you don’t have to waste money on any unnecessary last-minute grocery shopping trips.
Keep It Simple
I believe the reason why so few people meal plan is because it has become over-complicated.
You don’t have to spend 10 hours a week working on your meal plan, if you are organized and create a routine you will find meal planning easier than ever, and you will soon realize how much money you can save by taking a bit of time each week to simply plan out all your meals.
What is the biggest issue you face when it comes to meal planning?
Hi, I’m Amy! A frugal living wife who is always on the search for more ways to save money and cut costs. I am a stay at home wife with a passion to help other moms and wives who long to stay home find ways to make it possible. https://deliberatelyhere.com/