You have your budget.
You have your inventory.
Grab another sheet of paper, and a pen. You’ll also need your calendar.
oops! Should have had you take a few minutes to update that, too, during the preparation week.
Quickly! – add to your calendar any activities and events you have coming up within the next few weeks or month; especially activities that will coincide with a meal or snack time. You’ll need to account for these in your meal plan.
As you look over your inventory, look for meal combinations that you may already have. This might be a full meal already sitting in your cupboards, fridge, freezer, or it might be nearly a meal with the exception of one or two ingredients. Put those one or two items on your grocery list.
*If you added meal time calendar activities, look for quick eats or to-go foods, too!
If your pantry is anything like mine used to be, you may have as much as TWO WEEKS worth of meals in there! (yes, that warranted a shout!) I actually had more than a month. I had to buy a few proteins and some fresh vegetables, but I had so much in the way of dried, canned, and frozen foods that I could have fed a small army (or a teenage football team).
After you’ve added your one or two items for the meals, fill in the gaps. You don’t have to schedule the meals for specific days, but make sure you have enough meals for the time period you’re planning ( a week, two weeks, a month, etc.)
Take a look at your grocery list… is it much shorter than it used to be? Yea, mine was too. MUCH.
If you want to check out the advertisements, this is the time to do it – after you’ve planned the meals. Don’t skip stocking up on stand-by favorites when they are on sale, but if you start at the ads, you are likely to actually spend more money.
Coupons? They are usually good for a month or two. Pull out the ones you need for your list and for the ads (coupons and ads usually go hand-in-hand or run a week apart from each other).
Now, list in hand – go shop!
Come back when you’re finished and write back how much LESS you spent this week.
In Light & Love