Meal Planning for Beginners

One of the essentials when it comes to staying on budget is meal planning- it’s also one of the things I dread most! Give me spreadsheets, give me budgeting– ANYTHING but meal planning. I’ve tried it so many different ways because I know this is a MUST when it comes to staying on budget. But ughhhh!!!

So anyway, what I am giving a try this week is a really, REALLY relaxed meal plan. And honestly I have been doing this for a while it will just be official on paper now. Here are some steps to stay on budget and eat more than beans and rice!

The Plan: 

The new plan I am going to give an official try this week is a more themed based plan. Check it out:

Monday – Mexican Monday

Tuesday – Slow Cooker Meal

Wednesday – Barbecue 

Thursday – Leftover Night!

Friday – Homemade Pizza

Saturday – Open

Sunday – Salad/Sandwich Night

So as you can see this plan is a little more structured as every night has a theme. I think this will help me to gather recipes easier when I am searching Pinterest or cookbooks. Also, I leave Saturday open because usually once a week we are eating at someone else’s house and I don’t want to buy food that is going to go to waste.

Shop your pantry: 

Next you are going to take inventory of what you already have and make a list of it all before you even get started on your meal plan. This is so important to make sure that food you’ve already got in your pantry is being used and you are not buying doubles of things! Use what you’ve got to start creating your menu for the week! So if you go through your freezer and you’ve got a pound of hamburger and the ingredients to make some tortillas- all you will need is cheese and refried beans and you’ve got burritos for Mexican Monday! Utilize Google and Pinterest to get a little creative with new recipes. Just type in an ingredient you’ve got on hand to find dinner ideas using it. On a separate sheet of paper jot down any additional ingredients you are going to need. I am going to add a free basic inventory sheet down below for you to grab and use!

Create your list: 

Know your store! I like to organize my list by the layout of my preferred store to keep track and not be tempted to by anything by impulse! I also like to shop the perimeter of the store which cuts out most high cost processed foods. Usually anything that is in the center can be made from scratch much cheaper using items found in the bulk!Another great way to avoid impulse buys is to shop using Walmart.com and use their grocery pick-up service. It is THE BEST!

What are some tricks of the meal planning trade that you have learned along the way? Comment below!

 

Simply Reeds Inventory Sheet

 

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