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Genius Hack to Save Time and Money Grocery Shopping

Genius Hack to Save Time and Money Grocery Shopping

Genius Hack to Save Time and Money Grocery Shopping

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What’s for dinner tonight? As innocent as this question seems, it can create an immediate sense of stress.

If you’re anything like me you would go to the grocery store unprepared, and buy a ton of food, only to throw most out of out at the end of the week, untouched.

I’d heard of meal planning before, but it always seemed daunting and intimidating.  I thought it would take a lot of time.  Spoiler alert, you end up saving a lot of time at the end of the week.

Before I started meal planning, I would hem and haw over what to make for dinner.  After finally deciding on a recipe, I would go to the kitchen to realize I am missing several key ingredients.  This would leave me with two unappealing options.  I could find something else to make, or I can run to the grocery store (again) and pick up the missing ingredients.  All too often, I would call it quits, and order takeout, or decide to go out for dinner.  Anything, to not feel as though I had settled on a dinner idea.

The sad truth is that this happened to me all the time.  Despite large grocery hauls, all I was left with were random ingredients, but no meals.

Why should you do it?

Meal planning has helped organize my grocery shopping. I no longer have to agonize over what’s for dinner every night. Plus, at the end of the week, there is less food waste, and a savings of hundreds of dollars every month. I call that a win!

Making these simple changes can change your life too.  To help you get started, I have broken down meal planning into an easy to follow, straightforward process.  I have broken meal planning down into four categories: Schedule it, Plan it, Record it, and Execute it.

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1. Time

The amount of time each dish takes to prepare and cook.  Perhaps a busy weekday wouldn’t be the best time to try Julia Child’s famous Beef Bourguignon.

As a general rule, simpler meals are usually the best ones.  If something is overwhelming, it is easy to get discouraged.  The simpler the process, the easier it will be to stick with it. 

2. Schedule

Keep your family’s schedule in mind.  If you know that every Friday night is take out – then plan accordingly.  Similarly, if you always have Taco Tuesday, or order take out on Friday, make sure that is reflected in your planner.  Planning an elaborate pasta meal with a long list of ingredients on the day your family always goes to their favorite restaurant can throw off your whole week.

3.  Commonality

Try to find recipes that make use of similar ingredients.  This way you don’t have to buy a whole package of that that one expensive ingredient for one meal.

With that in mind, look at the serving size and consider doubling a recipe to repurpose it into leftovers the next day.  For example, last night’s roast chicken can be added to pasta and sauce for a fresh new meal tonight.  Or that steak from tonight’s dinner can be made into taco’s for tomorrow’s lunch.

Budget Friendly Tip: Try to find recipes that make the best use of what you already have in your fridge, pantry and freezer.  Before starting your meal plan, take an inventory of what you have, what you are running low of, and what you have run out of.   I also recommend as a rule that you keep a well-stocked pantry.

4.  Budget

Having a meal plan is also a great way to stay on budget with your grocery shopping since you know what you are going to buy in advance.  Going to the grocery store without a plan is a recipe for disaster if you are tying to reign in your grocery spending.

Keep track of sales.  Take a peek at your grocery store’s weekly flyer to check what is on sale.  Use the sales to dictate your keywords when looking for recipes.  For example, if chicken breast is on sale this week, you can make Creamy Garlic Chicken with Roasted Red Peppers.  Click Here for the Recipe. 

03. 

Record It 

How you choose to keep track of your recipes will depend entirely on your personality.

Some people work best with a paper and a pen.  If that’s you, a journal or calendar may be the best options for you.

Click here to download a copy of our FREE meal planner to print at home.

If you prefer a pre-printed journal style, this is a great option from Amazon.

 

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For those of you who prefer the electronic route, you can use Google Calendar.  Click here for instructions how to create a meal planner in Google Calendar.  The best thing about using Google Calendar is that you can share it with other members of your household.

Alternatively, there are several apps you can download.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules to meal planning.  If one thing isn’t working for your schedule or way of life, make adjustments that suit your needs. 

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04. 

Execute It 

Let’s Get Started

Once you decide which method you prefer to record the recipes and ingredients, you are ready to start.  Note the name of the recipe when you plan on making.  Ensure that you have the recipe and instructions easily accessible once you are ready to prepare the meal.  Ensure the grocery list reflects the elements of the recipe you need to purchase.

Sanity-saving tip: Organize your grocery list by the various departments in your grocery store.  There are few things that are worse than having to go back to the same section of the grocery store to pick up something that was at the bottom of the list.

Voila!  Your meal plan is complete.  That wasn’t so hard, was it?

You may think that the job is done when you get home from your grocery shopping.  It can be, but I recommend you take the time to pre-prep your foods.  For example, if looking at your meal plan, you see you will require grated cheese, do it now.  Chop any veggies that you may use to make a salad or side dish.  Marinade any meats that you will be consuming in the next few days.  This will also serve the additional benefit of cutting down the prep time for any recipe that you need to make.

You may want to put food storage containers on your shopping list.

Ever since I implemented using a meal plan with my family:

  1. I no longer waste hundreds of dollars each month by wasting food.
  2. My grocery shopping experience is shorter because I know what I need to buy before I even get there.
  3. I no longer have to go to the grocery store multiple times a week.

I saved the best by-product of starting a meal plan for last.

  1. I lost weight!

I didn’t plan for it.  It was effortless.  I was no longer getting as much take-out because I was stressing over what to make for dinner.  I was also subconsciously making healthier choices.

Have you started meal planning lately?  Share some of your tips and tricks to save money on groceries and meal plan for the week.

How to save money on Groceries. Tip and trick to save hundreds of dollars grocery shopping. How you can save time every week.
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18 Comments

  1. Kim Livengood

    These are absolutely amazing advice. I can’t stand to go to the grocery store. Luckily my husband loves to go. But these tips might inspire me to shop more there! Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Emily

    I was exactly like you and was resistant to starting meal planning. But once I finally did I realized how much time it actually saves!

    Reply
  3. CRistine

    I think taking stock of what’s in your pantry prior to meal planning is key. I’ve forgotten about so many things that get buried.

    Reply
  4. debbie

    We are really trying to focus on the meal planning. We are struggling a bit but I know once we get in the habit it will be completely worth it! Thanks for these tips!

    Reply
  5. Noelle Lynne

    These are great tips, I really could use some practice with planning meals and avoiding wasted left over food.

    Reply
  6. Melanie

    I really need to do this and you have just reminded me to do so. I must meal plan and actually stick to it x

    Reply
  7. mj

    In my opinion the most effective way of saving is through proper execution of budgeting. Good pointers indeed!

    Reply
  8. Jill

    I preach this method myself. Meal planning has saved us so much money and time. I have also started ordering the bulk of my groceries online, which has been an even bigger blessing. I only buy exactly what is on my list because there is no chance at all of walking past something I don’t need to be buying.

    Reply
  9. Maria

    I actually practice almost all of your tips myself! The only one that I have failed to do is scheduling mainly because I don’t always have the time, so I just keep the list with me and execute it whenever I have extra time at the end of the day, but I can definitely see the benefits of scheduling it!

    Reply
  10. Ithfifi

    I like these sort of plans, even though I am back living with my parents I still like to do this and write out a weekly list of what I want to eat as main meals. I do waste a lot less with this method 🙂

    Reply
  11. Bea

    This is seriously the only way I get through the week and kind of eat healthy. If any day I don’t plan it is always going into something terrible. Meal Planning is so good in so many way, and definitely help save time!

    Reply
  12. Veronica@inveronicascorner

    I totally agree with you! Meal planning is one of the best things you can do for your body and your budget. Plus it gives me
    Peace of mind to know what I’m eating everyday.

    Reply
  13. Tanvi Rastogi

    That is absolutely genius. I love planning and staying within budget. I will implement your advice in the coming weeks.

    Reply
  14. Ariel

    I love meal planning, I definitely believe it helps to save money and time at the grocery store. I have planned out every day to eat a salad so that take care of one meal. Then I plan to have fruit and something else for breakfast. I definitely love to plan ahead, thank you for sharing this.

    Reply
  15. Shell

    These are fabulous ideas to help save money on shopping for my family! I’m going to use some of your ideas!

    Reply
  16. Aditi

    Fantastic pointers. I also make it a point to come home and as I unload and put away the groceries, I note what I intended to cook alongside so as to not forget.

    Reply
  17. MinhNguyen

    This is a perfect advice. It takes a lot of work, but I usually plan my meal. It made me and my family feel safe and save a lot.

    Reply
  18. Elizabeth O

    These are some great tips on saving money and time in grocery shopping. Having a planning and right budget is a must, and making lists of items as well. Such a perfect advice for a newly coupled.

    Reply

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