What is Meal Planning?

If you are looking to save money on the amount you spend on groceries, then I can highly recommend meal planning. Not sure what meal planning is? Then this post has all the information you need to get started.

In its simplest form, meal planning is where you plan your meals for a specific time period. Some people plan for a week, others may plan for a fortnight or a month. It depends on how often you do your shop. For example, we shop weekly, so I meal plan for a week at a time.

I also plan for all meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are new to meal planning, you may just wish to start with dinner and add other meals at a later date.

How to start meal planning?

I like to use my handy meal planning sheet and you can too.  You can get this FREE Weekly Meal Planner by signing up below.

FREE MEAL PLANNER

It can be quite daunting to sit down with an empty sheet of paper trying to think of 28 meals across the week.

It is best to start by making a list of your favourite meals. Then allocate each one to a day of the week. Take into account the time it will take you to make the meal. I like to save the quick and easy meals to have in the week and save the more time-consuming meals for the weekend when I might have more time to cook them.

A good way to begin is to start with base meals.  For example, Monday is pasta day.  Every Monday we have pasta for dinner but we change the accompaniments and the sauce.  One week it may be a pasta arrabbiata, the next chicken and bacon pasta and so on.  This means that I already know the base of one meal and I just need to plan in the additional ingredients.

Other examples of my base meals are:

  • Tuesdays - Salad
  • Wednesdays - Meat
  • Thursdays - Fish
  • Fridays - Vegetable
  • Saturday - Either a Fakeaway or an Iceland Takeaway
  • Sunday - Roast

You can see this provides the base of meals throughout the week.  I can easily see that we have a balanced diet across the week, can identify those meals which will need additional veg adding but can vary the type of fish, meat or vegetables each week which prevents repetition.

Looking for recipe inspiration?  Check out these Money Saving Journeys posts:

How I Make 16 Portions of Spaghetti Bolognese From 1kg of Beef Mince recipe, chocolate, quick and easy, homemade, chocolate fondant Make Your Own Taste-A-Like Takeaway Food - includes Doner Kebab Recipe Pancake Day - Easy Recipe and Topping Ideas

How can Meal Planning save you money?

Once you have planned your meals, you will know exactly which foods you require to make all your meals for the week and you can write your shopping list. But don't rush off to the supermarket yet!  There are another two shorts steps to take to ensure you are not spending unnecessarily and that is to 'shop from home first':

  1. Check your list against what you may already have in your cupboards and fridge/freezer. By using up what you already have in, you will save money on your total spend.
  2. See if you already have some ingredients in that you could swap for items on your meal plan thereby using up what you already have and not making an additional purchase.

By only buying those items that you know you need and will use up, you will reduce food waste and this will add to your savings.

Meal Planning Organisation

Once you have created your meal plan, why not display it where the whole family can see it. Everyone will be able to see what’s for dinner and you will be able to see at a glance what needs to be defrosted, prepped or cooked each night and won’t face the dreaded ‘what’s for dinner’ fear.

Take your Meal Planning to the Next Level

Once you have got the hang of meal planning, take it to the next level by introducing:

  • Batch cooking
  • Building a recipe bank
  • Incorporating Yellow Sticker foods

Start meal planning today!

What are you waiting for? Sign up and download your FREE Meal Planning Template and start meal planning today. You will save money and have the added bonus of being organised and knowing exactly what’s for dinner each night.

FREE MEAL PLANNER