Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Meal Planning Saves $$

       With a new year came a new method of saving money on groceries. 2017 showed me what I was doing wrong and how I could start doing it right. My usual method of saving money was using coupons, apps, and searching for deals. While this method works, and isn't necessarily wrong, it is draining. I never wanted to make the effort to try and save money at the store because it meant that I had to cut out coupons, look for redeemable offers on Ibotta, and search online and through newspapers for cheap deals. Therefore we started spending so much money on our groceries and didn’t bother to care we were spending so much. I finally broke down and told myself there has to be a happy medium! There has to be a better way and still save a good amount of money each month. I found the light at the end of the tunnel and started to meal plan. Avidly.

     In July 2017, my husband graduated college and we moved to a tiny town in Utah for a teaching job. Tiny, as in, middle of the desert, at least an hour in any direction to walmart. It was so hard to adjust our budget to fit a tiny grocery store that was overly expensive. My first shopping trip to that store was depressing. I thought I had gathered about $50 worth of things, to find at the checkout it was $90! Oh. My. We can't afford this store! What do we do?

    After weeks of buying groceries at the little grocery store, I came up with the idea of getting a Sam’s Club membership. Yes, Sam’s was an hour and a half away. Yes, we would spend a ton of gas money just to go shopping, but it would be more affordable than shopping in our local town. Our plan was to go to Sam’s twice a month and get everything we need in those two trips for the month. It worked! It worked so well. How? Because I meal planned. Down to the T! The day we were to head to Sam’s I would go through our cupboards and take note of everything we had and create a meal plan that would get us through 2-3 weeks.

     It was not easy at first. But I did get the hang of it. While I can’t really share the exact numbers of how much money we saved, I can say that it was drastic. Like hundreds of dollars drastic. It did take some dedication but nowhere near the amount it took when I was couponing. Pinterest is a great way to find budget friendly meals and makes meal planning easier. I usually search through pinterest, create a menu, write all my ingredients I need, and then I can head to the store. If you are needing to cut down your grocery bill, I would suggest by meal planning. And really sticking to that meal plan. I helps you save money and keep your kitchen organized. I will never stop meal planning because it has literally been our budget saver. Plus, I get to cook yummy meals! WIN!

Questions for YOU!
Do you meal plan? What sources do you use to create a menu?

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