As a part-time worker and full-time student, I don’t have much time OR money. However, I have found that by sitting down and planning for the week, I can save both. While my way of planning may not work for you, here’s a suggestion if you’re new to meal planning.
1. Determine how frequently you want to go grocery shopping. (I opt to go bi-weekly)
2. Consolidate your work/social/school schedule so you can plan your meals. (For example, next week is VBS at my church and I’m working, so I’m planning for a quick breakfast/snack/lunch to take to work as well as a quick meal to eat before heading to church as well as a snack to eat while at VBS).
3. Look through weekly ads of the stores you most frequently shop at. Most stores also have a digital copy on their website. If you coupon, look through coupons as well.
4. Decide what foods you will use that are on sale and incorporate those items into your meal plans. (Corn was 3 for $1 at Kroger, so I decided on a mexican night)
5. Once you have your meals for the week planned out, write down the ingredients needed for each meal. (This may seem time consuming, but it’s better than forgetting you need cilantro and realizing while cooking dinner).
6. Compare your list to whats in your pantry/fridge/etc
7. Once you’ve figured out what you need to purchase, create a new list. Separate items into categories (this is really up to you; I use where they are located in the store)
8. Go grocery shopping. Remember to bring your reusable bags (a lot of stores offer a discount when you use them), coupons and shopping list.
A few tips:
Make sure to sign up for any frequent shopper clubs, they savings really add up.(I’ve saved 87.22 in the last 4 months)
Check your store website for digital coupons (on the Kroger website you can save digital coupons directly to your Kroger PlusCard)
Don’t be afraid of buying the marked-down produce items if you know you are going to use it quickly
Set a weekly budget and keep track of item prices while shopping (Mine is $60 per two weeks, this week I spent 54 dollars)