How To Create A Weekly Meal Plan
Creating a weekly or even monthly meal plan can save you hundreds of dollars at the grocery store. This is one way that we slashed our grocery budget in half and saved over $600 a month on food. It is so much easier to not eat out when you have a plan and already have the ingredients you need for a meal. Creating a weekly meal plan is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes.
I usually meal plan on Sunday for the week. I make a list of 5 meals for the week. Yes just 5. This is because we always have leftovers at some point or I don’t feel like cooking and will make something easy like hot dogs or cereal or other breakfast food.
Even with only planning for 5 meals, we don’t always make them all. I usually try and keep a stash of frozen items on hand just in case also. If I’m not feeling good and just need a quick meal, we can do something frozen.
To create a weekly meal plan you simply need to make a list. I do not plan out breakfast and lunches. I just make sure I buy items for those at the grocery store and then make whatever I feel like on that day. I know some people plan out everything but really who has time for that. Our biggest area for needing a plan is dinner, so that’s what I plan.
I create my meal plan when I am creating my shopping list. I go through the pantry and fridge and figure out what I have and what I need. I also will plan meals with fresh produce that will go bad quickly at the beginning of the week.
Here is my example for this week:
The only things I need for the meals at the store are chips, salsa, and tomato sauce. I did my big shopping trip for 2 weeks last week so these are the meals I had left for this week. Since I am getting ready to be on maternity leave for awhile I have switched from a weekly grocery budget to a biweekly budget. So, I bought most of the ingredients for these meals last week. The problem was we ate more than I anticipated for the meals last week for items that were for this week.
You can make the list on a piece of paper or download my FREE weekly meal plan sheet.
Some people will create a meal plan for the entire month and rotate meals through. I find it easier for me to make it either one or two weeks at a time. I will make a lot of the same things and try to plan meals with the same ingredients together.
For example, I will buy 5lbs of ground beef at a time. I will then divide it up for the meals for the week and freeze whatever is leftover. I also usually buy 4-8lbs of chicken and divide it up also at the same time as the beef.
If I have meatloaf on the menu, I make 10lbs of mashed potatoes with the meatloaf. I will then use the leftover mashed potatoes for shepherds pie (my favorite meal!:)).
I will also grill a lot of chicken at the same time depending on my meal plan. If I bought salad stuff, I will grill chicken for BBQ chicken salad at the same time as the street tacos.
I also plan my meals that have fresh ingredients around shopping day. Cilantro and parsley go bad faster than onions and peppers. So, I plan those meals first. I have a hard time running to the store so, I’m not the type to go everyday for fresh ingredients. I usually do my shopping one week at a time. I save money by not running to the store everyday.
What are you cooking this week?
Hi, I am Ashley and I am here to teach you how to budget, save money, and pay off debt with simple and easy to implement tips. I was able to pay off $45,000 in 17 months including $25,000 in student loans in just 10 months. I am now a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach and help people like you manage their budgets so they can live the life they want. I also have a degree in psychology and help you get to the root of your money problems. I have also written two ebooks to help save you money and how to budget for beginners.