The topic for the first week of Money Saving March is Meal Planning. Meal Planning is a very simple way to save your family money on groceries as well as save you time. Instead of standing in front of the fridge, freezer or pantry gazing and trying to decide what you will cook for dinner, you already have a plan of action and know exactly what you will be serving up on that specific night.
I was able to see a drastic drop in my grocery bill once I put meal planning into action. By planning what you will have around sales, using the same ingredients multiple times, and using from your stockpile at home you will be able to decrease that even more. Here's a few tips to get you started:
#1. Try to plan meals around what is on sale for the week. For instance, if pork chops are on sale, incorporate that into your menu. And while your at it, pick up a couple more packs for the freezer. Purchase meat, non perishables and freezer items while on sale and start (or add to) your stockpile. This will save you tons of money by eliminating not having to purchase items at full price. Pull from your stockpile to create future menus to cut down on THAT week's grocery bill. Also, plan meals around what you already have at home.
#2. Plan your menu and write it down. If you shop every two weeks, plan menus for that period of time...every week, plan one week at a time - you get the picture.
#3. Make your shopping list from your menu. List everything that you need to purchase to make the meals you have planned.
#4. Add to your list any sale items or other items you need for the week, such as milk, snacks, bread, etc.
#5. Match your coupons up with any items you have on your list.
#6. Head out to the store, with your list and coupons. Shop from your list! Let me say that juuust once more...Shop from your list! I know it is nearly impossible to purchase only what is on your list, but when you are planning for your menu and shopping trip, try to list everything you need to purchase. Try your best to purchase all items on the list and steer away from impulse buys.
So with all of that in mind, I thought a great way to help you along and keep us all on task would be to start ANOTHER new feature on The Frugal Friends. Menu Monday is a way for all of us to work together and help each other out with menu ideas, recipes and sale items. You will notice the top of the page now has a tab for Menu Monday with all the details. Basically, each week I'll post my week's menu and grocery bill then if you would like to give meal planning a try, you can leave a post with your name, menu for the week and, if you would like, your grocery bill. By leaving a comment with your info, your name will be entered into a drawing for a small prize! You can leave your menu anytime starting now and until midnight on Sunday, March 6. Remember, this is your menu for the week of 2/28 - 3/7. I will announce the winner on next Monday's Post. This week's winner will win this cute Mini Take Along Coupon Organizer - Great for Grocery Shopping :)
Now for my menu, the picture above was actually mine for this week. In the case that you were unable to read it, I'll list it out:
Monday - Baked Ham, Cheezy Potatoes, Corn and Baked Beans
Tuesday - Tacos, Rice and Beans
Wednesday - Chili and Sandwiches
Thursday - Chili Dogs or Leftovers :)
Friday - Crock Pot Chicken and Dressing, Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans
Grocery Bill - $54.69
Now it's your turn! Let's see those menus and please leave any tips you have, recipes you'd like to share or sales...let's help each other out to cut those grocery bills!!!