We aren’t exactly picky eaters at my house. We love everything about food, love cooking it and especially love eating it. But what we aren’t crazy about is how expensive groceries can be. And since I’m super frugal and get giddy at even the mention of a sale, I knew there had to be a way we could cut down on our food bills.
I’ve always just gone to the grocery store and randomly fired items into the cart based on what I thought we needed, or what looked good. The problem with that habit is that I was tired of opening the fridge and realizing that we either didn’t have the ingredients I needed to make the meal I had in mind, or else I was throwing out a lot of food because it had spoiled before we ate it. I had enough of wasting food and losing money because of it.
And that’s when I knew there had to be a change. And this change is so simple that I don’t know why I ever just went to the grocery store and chucked items into my cart without much thought or care before. Those days are over.
So how do we do it?
Easy. Well, sort of. I guess like most things in life, it just takes a little time and effort.
So here’s the big trick…which is really a no-brainer when you thinking of it and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along… you need to make a meal plan and you need to check the weekly flyers. That’s all that’s to it.
Every weekend – usually Saturday morning, I take time to scour the grocery flyers checking out what’s on sale. I base my entire weekly meal plan on the items that are on sale. It’s really that easy.
The trick is that you have to take time to go over the flyers in detail really and you have to write down the plan.
I even made up a list of the meals/recipes that we love to eat… like lasagna, meatloaf, stew, stirfry, fajitas, etc. I just found that whenever I was put on the spot on what to have for supper at any given time I could never think of things we ate… the list gave me a reference point.
Once I had the reference sheet, I got out the flyers for the grocery stores and started seeing which store had what stuff on sale. I based what to plan for the week solely on this. For instance, if Store A had roast beef on for a good price, then I knew I’d put roast with veggies on the meal plan. If Store B had pork tenderloin on sale, then I knew I could use that for fajitas or tacos or something else and so I’d put that on the menu. If another store had broccoli, peppers and mushrooms on sale, then I’d think of a recipe or two that included those and that would be more meals.
Suddenly I noticed our grocery bills were waaaay less and we had what we needed for the week without needing further impromptu stops for other things. (I mean, how many times have you gone to the grocery store for one thing and left with a dozen other impulsive buys?)
Since we mostly use leftovers for our workday lunches, it’s easy for us to get two meals out of each single meal we cook.
Remember, the days aren’t carved in stone so you can always switch them up if say on Tuesday you’d rather have what’s slotted in for Thursday and vice versa.
Remember, the whole point of the plan is:
1. You know what you are having to eat each day (no more having to think of something on the fly)
2. You have all the ingredients (no more deciding on something and not having the ingredients)
3. You saved money by purchasing only what you needed and you bought items that were already on sale. (uhhhh..hello! Major win!)
Once we started this and quickly saw that we were actually eating everything we bought with no waste PLUS saving money while still having our favorite meals, we knew this idea was golden.
This can also be done for pre-planning family lunches if you aren’t into taking leftovers. Stick to what’s on sale for the given week and go from there.
Grab the FREE PRINTABLE Meal Plan Sheet here so you can start organizing your weekly meal plans and stop wasting money at the grocery store. Plus grab my FREE PRINTABLE Fave Meal Planning sheets here which gives you plenty of space to write down your meals and also items you need to pick up this week to complete the meals. I’ve categorized it into my family’s preferences for meals but this includes a blank sheet that you can customize for yourself.
Looking for a more detailed way to get your finances organized so you can reach your goals? Check out my printable Financial Planner and take control of your life.
Ciao for now…