Frugal Meal Planning
The main purpose of frugal meal planning is to keep you organized, save money, save time, provide nutritious meals for the family and most importantly, make each meal go as far as possible. For the average family in the US. Food costs are the third highest expense in the family budget. For this reason, meal planning will be one of your most important techniques in successfully living the frugal life.
Here are some frugal tips to help you with your meal planning:
Frugal Meal Planning Tips: Plan Your Meals In Advance
Most family managers find the best method is to plan their meals one week ahead. Some families that are extremely pressed for time have found it easier to do meal planning two weeks ahead.
We are concentrating here on the dinner meal but the concept is the same for both breakfast and lunch. The starting point is to get together all of your family’s favorite recipes. For the dinner meal recipes, try to assemble at least 15-20 that you know the family enjoys and that fit into your food budget.
Make a simple one week meal plan by taking a piece of paper and putting across the top-Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Along the side, put the days of the week. Decide what you are going to prepare for each day of the week and copy the recipe in the day of the week space or attach the recipe to the back of the meal plan. You may want to consider leaving one dinner day as left-over day.
Keep in mind that meal planning is not something cast in concrete. If your busy schedule makes it impractical to plan one or more weeks in advance, try doing it for two or three days in advance or whatever meal plans works best for you and your family. Whatever you decide to do, the effort will reward you with money saved, time saved and stress reduced.
Frugal Meal Planning Tips: Plan your Meals Around The Sales Ads
This is one of the biggest dollar stretching techniques available to frugal families. This works especially well for weekly meal planning because grocery stores run their sales and specials ads usually once a week. Look at what is on sale and in season and work these items into the overall weekly meal plan you prepared above. If the sale items are ingredients that can go into recipes that your family enjoys but are not on the overall meal plan, just substitute these recipes for one on the overall plan.
Frugal Meal Planning Tips: Put Your Shopping List Together
Its time to put your shopping list together. At this point you have made an overall list of meals you will prepare for the week. You have added or substituted to this list by using the grocery/drug store sales, loss leaders and specials that are advertised for that week.
The next step is to look at what is in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer for those items that can be used in the weekly plan.
The final task is to gather together all of the coupons you have been clipping that are useable for the items on your overall weekly meal plan. Don’t forget to go online and search on one of the coupon database websites for each item on your grocery list. You will probably find additional, printable coupons this way.
Frugal Meal Planning Tips: Multi-Meal Day
This meal planning technique will require the better part of a day to cook multiple recipes for next week’s main dinner courses. This approach requires a little organization because you have to arrange which items are to be cooked first, which have common ingredients and which can be cooked together; however, the investment in this cooking time will provide a week or more of meals as well as an overall saving in time and money.
For example, you could use your oven to roast two chickens or cook several casseroles. At the same time, you could cook rice, potatoes and other vegetables on the stove top. To go one step further, use a crockpot to cook a roast, meatloaf or chili. When you have finished cooking and put everything in the freezer, you will have many meals available for the next week that coincide with you master meal plan. Instead of coming home at the end of a busy day wondering what to fix for dinner, it is all planned out.
Back to Homepage from Frugal Meal Planning