Jan and I recently had a long talk about the undeniable increase in costs that we have seen in our day-to-day lives. We lamented about how expensive it is to feed our families right now and shared ideas about ways we have started to cut costs. Today I want to share a simple way to cut costs. My two go-to tricks are meal planning and Aldi grocery store. This week we will take a look at my meal planning tips.
A simple way to cut costs is to meal plan. This is something that I have done for years. To be honest, some weeks are better than others. No one is perfect!! I totally cave and grab carry out on the way home more times than I like. But, meal planning has certainly helped me minimize those days. Here are the steps I currently use to meal plan.
- Take a sheet of paper and list out the dates for the entire month.
- Look at your calendar. Are there any special events that mean eating out? Are there days where you are busy and you know you’ll be ordering take out? Write those down beside the date. For example, we always eat a special take out dinner on Valentine’s Day. Beside 2/14 I write, “Order out.”
- Now, look at what is left and think about different groupings of meals that your family normally eats. For instance, in my house we tend to eat something Mexican, a crockpot soup, something quick in the air fryer, a comfort meal, and pizza every week. Using those categories, I map out my month.
- For example, every Friday is pizza night, so on my list I write the word pizza beside each of the dates that is a Friday. Thursdays are busy after school so I add in simple crock pot meals on the dates that fall on Thursdays. Mondays we are all home so I might add in something more cumbersome such as meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or lasagna.
Make sense? So once I have my list, I put a star next to the dates that I go shopping. For me, it is typically Wednesday. So when I am making my grocery list, I look at what is on my meal plan from Wed. to Wed. and shop accordingly.
In sum, using this meal plan helps me save a TON of money. When I shop I have a plan. And we eat out less because I know what I’m making each day. Next week, we are going to look at how Aldi grocery store saves me hundreds each month. What are some ways you are cutting costs this year? Share with me in the comments.