Making a meal plan is very simple but so many people don’t do it.  It is a great way to organize your home and save money.  Yay!  I love saving money!

For me grocery shopping used to be Friday night after work stop at the grocery store grab a little bit of everything to keep the cupboards full.  Then I would go home uninspired, stressed out, and about 8pm at night very exhausted.  Throughout the week I would throw together the same meals week after week and dread making dinner.  I would also feel like we had no groceries by the time the week was over even though I really did have a lot still in the cupboard, just not any of our average meals I was accustomed to making.  Now I have my meals planned out, if I defer from the plan I know I have an extra meal that can be made so I don’t have to get more groceries even longer.  We eat out less (from 1-2 days a week to none unless we are traveling out of town).  And I don’t grocery shop late on a Friday anymore (stress central), and when I do shop I have a plan, buy less, and enjoy cooking again.  I am actually learning a lot of new recipes, and techniques in the kitchen to boot!

Step 1. Create a list of family favorite meals, meals you want to make but never have, and look through cookbooks for more inspiring ideas.  Try to make  a list of 30-50 meals if you can.  If you are still having trouble thinking of ideas look through grocery circulars for what is on sale, and look in your cupboards for the inspiration for dishes you might already have some ingredients for.

Step 2. Make a shopping list.  I like to write out some of my favorite meal recipes on recipe cards that way when I pick what I want to make for dinner I have the recipes right there so I don’t forget to write anything down on my shopping list.

Step 3.  Organize your shopping list with the amounts of the different items you need.  Example.

I need 2 lbs of potatoes for mashed potatoes, and 1 lb for potato salad.  I also need 4 eggs for a quiche and 8 eggs for morning breakfast for the week, and 4 for french toast on the weekend, and 4 cups of cheese for macaroni.

potatoes ||| lbs

eggs || dozen

macaroni |||| C (1 C = 4 oz, so I need 16oz or 1 lb)

Bonus: Since you have your ingredients measured out for the week and you have your shopping done.  You can now save even more time for dinner by prepping for the week.  Instead of dicing 1/2 an onion three different days at dinner time, you can dice it all at one time, store it in the fridge in pre-measured proportions and by doing so you can save yourself time.  By doing your weeks prep ahead of time you will save yourself time and stress.

I challenge you to try meal planning for a month and see what you think!