Grocery shopping and meal planning. I don't know about you, but it's not my most favorite activity. But it's necessary. Let's talk about how to get it done faster!
I have no doubt in my mind that meal planning absolutely saves our family money:
1. We're not throwing away food because we forgot to cook it.
2. We're not buying things that we don't need.
3. We're not going out to eat needlessly.
4. We're able to use our leftovers and take them as lunch.
So we're able to stretch our grocery budget as far as it can go.
So how do I meal plan?
1. Check my planner
It begins with me checking my faithful planner. I just scan through the week: see what I've got going on, see if we have any later afternoon appointments. And then, I can plan around that.
2. Check your pantry
Next, I see if I have anything in my pantry, freezer or refrigerator and see what I can make out of what I already have. This is a great way to stretch what you already have. I jot down some ideas based on what we have.
3. Schedule a pickup
Now, there was a time when I would actually physically go to the grocery store. But now, I'm just in a very busy time, so I do a grocery pickup service. But if I was still going to my grocery store, I would pull out my sales flier and see what is on sale, fill in the gaps of what I already have, and form my meal plan.
Right now, I do Walmart grocery pickup. I'll pull up my phone and I'll just start making a grocery list based on what I need.
4. Have themed nights
Something I've done that's really simplified meal planning is to have regular nights. So Monday might be meatless Monday and Tuesday is Taco Tuesday. And then Wednesday is some sort of something really quick because we're gone all day and then we have to be at church early. So that may be the day that I throw some stuff in the InstantPot or in the slow cooker and have, like, chicken sandwiches out of the crock-pot, that sort of thing.
Set yourself a timer if you need to pull out chicken breast from the freezer, or frozen vegetables, or something that you cooked ahead of time and froze them (because I'm a big advocate of "cook once, eat twice"). If you have stuff in the freezer and you're prone to forget it, set yourself a timer, an alert on your phone, to go off before you go to bed or first thing in the morning, to remind yourself to pull that stuff out of the freezer so it will be thawed in time for dinner.