It’s no surprised that I love saving money, it’s also no surprise that the first place a household can save money is right in the kitchen, with meals. But most people think it takes too much time to put in the effort to save money, or they don’t even know where to begin, where to shop, what to buy and give a bunch of money lies as to why they can’t save money in the grocery store. So today I want to share with you my most used and favorite tips for planning meals and shopping in the stores, tips that I don’t hear anywhere else!
Meal planning hacks for busy moms
- Stock up on sales! Of course! It’s a no brainier! Of course when pantry food goes on sale people don’t really hesitate to stock up, at least a little, but what about fresh foods? Fruit is easy to freeze, I haven’t met many fruits that I couldn’t figure out how to freeze. Most vegetables can also be frozen. If you can, a vacuum sealer is a great investment, or just using good freezer bags can really take you a long way. We freeze meat, most fruits, some veggies, breads. Even milk can be frozen to help extend dates, allowing you to stock up when it goes on sale.
- Shop online at your grocery store. If you have a difficult time staying in your budget and sticking to your list IN the store, take your shopping OUT of the store. Walmart is constantly expanding on grocery pick up and even grocery delivery! Many people love Shipt and Instacart is also an option. Walmart pickup is free, but some of the other services have a fee. Depending on how far over your budget you tend to go, this might still be a great solution for you. But this helps so much because you are able to see your total with every item you add to your cart. You can see the exact moment you go over budget and you can make adjustments to both suit your grocery needs, AND your budget needs! You aren’t able to “wander” around the store online, so you won’t add extra stuff that isn’t in your budget to your cart, it also saves so much energy not dragging kids around the store.
- Shop at Aldi whenever possible. I love pickup… but even Walmart has a hard time competing with Aldi’s prices! I buy everything I possibly can from Aldi, anything I can’t get from there I usually will order Walmart pickup, and the things I know I want to stock up on I will get from Sam’s. Most people can cut their average grocery costs in HALF when they start shopping at Aldi for most of their grocery needs!
- Use a master grocery list for reference when putting together your grocery list at home. By being reminded to check every little thing you might keep around the house, you’re less likely to forget little things that bring you back to the store, over and over again. Or buying things you didn’t really need.
- Plan meals around what you already have on hand! Have a roast you got on sale and then put in the freezer? Add that baby to the meal plan! Same goes for extra veggies you have in the fridge. We throw out SO MUCH FOOD here in America. It’s expensive and completely wasteful. This helps you make sure you are actually eating everything you spent your hard earned money on!
- Use your meal plan to make your list. After I have my meal plan set up, I go meal by meal and add whatever ingredients I need to my grocery list. Then I go through my master list to make sure I remembered things like bread, milk, spices, and conditioner. I also think about what we need for lunches and breakfasts, but most of that is included in the master list.
- Remember to bring your list! You spent a little time on making that thorough grocery list, it can’t help you though if it’s on the kitchen counter while you’re in the grocery store! Put the list in your purse, your pocket, take a picture of it with your phone, or put the list in an app on your phone, whatever you have to do to make sure you don’t forget it!
You are going to feel SO prepared when you walk into that grocery store! And you can price estimate everything on the list before hand to minimize surprises at the check out! And the money/time you save by not having to go into the tempting grocery store every few days will really start to add up!
Until next time friends!