Low Cost Meal Planning Tips

The struggle is real.  You’re busy at work, running your kids to activities, then still have to get home to feed everyone… and there is a budget to consider.  Let’s get serious, everyone needs to save money these days.   

When you have a plan, you will be less likely to spend money on fast food or convenience food. Your family will be fed healthy, nutritious meals, and you will have the time each night to sit down together. It's a wonderful time to connect. 

Here are some solid tips on how to feed your family, save time, and money!!!

𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧.

Sit down with the family and ask them what everyone is looking for.  Not having to figure that part out all by yourself is huge! Make a list of ingredients for those meals.  I always check my deep freeze, fridge, and pantry first.  Check off anything you already have on the list.   

A well-planned dinner menu is important because this is where you’ll spend the bulk of your grocery budget (plus it ensures you’re not scrambling to find something to serve come 6pm). Plan on 3 easy recipes plus a night of repurposing the leftovers.  If able, plan one large meal a week.  Cook once/ eat twice (at least!)   

𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐭𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬!

When planning, think about how you can use leftovers. If you’re cooking roast chicken with rice and vegetables for Sunday night’s supper, then make chicken sandwiches for Monday’s lunch. On Tuesday, use the bones to make a chicken soup and toss in any leftover vegetables and rice.   

Near the end of the week look to see what needs to be eaten up.  FIFO - first in first out - use the oldest meat/ veg first!  Look for recipes that use these ingredients and use up everything in your fridge.  No waste and $$$ in your pocket.

𝐔𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐭𝐨𝐨𝐥𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐤𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠. 

Proteins, like fish, chicken, or beef, tend to be the most costly items on the grocery list, so build a meal plan around items that are on sale. Consider seasonal produce, which tends to be cheaper, like asparagus in the spring and fresh berries in the summer.  Local flyers and online tools are your best friend.  You’ll know where to go for what, saving time, and money!

𝐁𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝 𝐚 𝐛𝐮𝐝𝐠𝐞𝐭-𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐲 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐠𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲.

Keep a stock of staples like eggs and canned tuna that can be used in multiple meals throughout the week. Hard-boiled eggs add protein to your morning avocado toast or your kid's lunchbox. Canned tuna becomes an easy meal-prep filling for lunch wraps and doubles as melts for a quick dinner. When shopping, keep an eye out for additional in-store deals and stock up (use within the month) when staples go on sale.  Rice, pasta, canned tomatoes, etc.  

𝐌𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐬.

Don’t let a big bunch of carrots or celery go to waste. Use it all up by making an extra big pot of soup. If ground beef is on sale, make two batches of lasagna instead of one. Serve one batch for dinner, and freeze the other batch in meal-sized portions for another time.

𝐈𝐭 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐧𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 (𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬) 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐡!

Having some cooked protein on hand, think shredded chicken (LEFTOVERS),  sliced & clean veggies ready in the fridge will be a lifesaver. Get the kids to shred some cheese and put it in a container, you’re ready to go! You can quickly make a wrap, a salad, or pack a snack of veg & hummus.   Pre-make some egg cups, and/or overnight oats for a hearty nutritious on-the-go breakfast.  Waste not want not! You instantly have a leftover meal, and you have pre-cooked protein and veggies ready to use in an alternate dish!  

It feels so good to save money at the same time feeding your family healthy, nutritious meals. Win Win!!!

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