I love food. (Eating it, that is…)
Unfortunately, the whole process of meal planning, shopping and cooking– is a huge joy thief in my life. I find myself frequently folding under the pressure of my weekly food failures.
Some weeks, I spend more on food than I’ve budgeted.
Other weeks, I over-buy ingredients and end up throwing food out.
Sometimes, I ‘jump ship’ mid-week and order pizza.
Can you relate?
I have a lot of room to grow in this area, but I have found a good plan goes a long way in relieving stress. In my long (and unfinished) process of figuring food out, I’ve found a few tricks that seem to help me stay closer to my goals!
5 Things to Consider When Making Your Plan:
1. Check the Meat Sales First.
Before deciding what store (or stores) to shop at or what recipes to make for the week, try looking at the weekly ads and find out what meats are on sale. Meats tend to cost the most, which means the best savings, if you plan accordingly! Weekly ads are easily found on store websites or you can download store apps for a quick access.
2. Know Your Stores.
When making your list, it’s important to know what stores offer the best prices for certain items– and wait to buy those things until you can get there. For instance, Target has the best non-sale prices for things like cereals, canned goods and soups. Trader Joe’s has good prices on canned goods, snacks and cheeses, but never has sales! These are the types of things you want to notice when doing your shopping, so you can stock up on items at the right places!
3.Examine Your Pantry.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bought something and then found it in the back of my cupboard. Take a quick look before you shop!
4. Use Pinterest to maximize the ingredients you already have!
Once you’ve found the best meat (and other sales) and looked through the food in the pantry, type those ingredients into Pinterest to select recipes! For instance, if chicken tenders are on sale and you have a can of black beans in the cupboard, type “recipes chicken black bean” and pick from the recipes that come up. Sometimes you will find you only need a couple of ingredients to complete a recipe!
5.Consider Your Week.
As you are making your grocery list for the week, make sure you think about your schedule. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planned a meal and then realized we had plans for dinner that night! Also, if you missed it, check out my post on the AnyList app, which I use to streamline my grocery list-making.
When I follow these guidelines for planning meals, I stay closer to my goals and find food to be more of a joy and less of a drain!
Got any other money-saving, sane-mama food tips? Please, do share.