Meal plan on a budget? Yup! It's totally possible and we are here to help you figure it out. Not only will we give you the full scoop on meal planning, but we created a FREE MEAL PLAN PRINTABLE just for you and your family.
How do you plan meals for a week?
The first thing you want to do when creating a meal plan is get organized. Getting organized becomes even more important when you're trying to meal plan on a budget. Look and see what you have, what is on sale, and what are your cheapest staple meal and items.
I like to sit down with my weekly circular flyers from my local stores to see which stores I need to shop and for what items. I look at protein first and build a meal plan on a budget from there.
What is a good daily meal plan on a budget?
Using something like our FREE printable (scroll below), you can break meals down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even track your daily snacks. Including snacks is a good idea when making your meal plan. If you skip the snack box on your meal plan, you may wind up blowing your budget on snacks in just a few days.
You want to choose meals and snacks that give you the most bang for your buck. Fill up your meal plan on a budget chart with protein and fiber-heavy foods whenever possible. This will help you avoid feelings of overwhelming hunger and keep you and kiddos feeling fuller longer.
How do I create a meal plan on a budget?
A meal plan on a budget doesn't need to be complicated. Our printable is a great, simple resource, but it may not work best for your family. Maybe your kids eat lunch for free at school every day or you get free breakfast at work. Adjust the plan accordingly.
When I first started meal planning, I took a good look at a typical weekday and a typical weekend day. I mapped out how often we were eating and the types of foods we were eating and started my meal plan from there. The biggest mistake I have heard of people making is forgetting that everyone is home all weekend and they need to plan meals and snacks with that in mind.
What is the cheapest meal plan?
Quite honestly, the cheapest meal plan on a budget is going to be the one you can actually stick with. We've all been there. It's been a long day and on your chart you're supposed to make tacos and rice. The last thing you want to do is stand over the stove for 30 minutes to make dinner. Twin parents are notoriously exhausted and busy. We get it.
You have a choice. It may not be the best choice, but there is a choice. you can blow your food budget and meal plan by ordering takeout (which we all do from time to time) or stick to the plan and make a note to put takeout and easy dinners on your menu as often as you would like.
We put takeout on our meal plan once a week and a frozen or other super easy meal at least once a week. With kids in activities, cooking a whole meal with sides and all can be a little too overwhelming every night.
How can I feed my family with $100 a week?
With a meal plan, some smart shopping, and coupons, I fed my family of 5 on around $100 a week until my twins were in middle school. We spend a bit more now but not by too much. I just have to remember to create and stick with our meal plan on a budget.
I shop sales. Look on the first page of your local store's flyer. That first page often has the best deals. Learn what prices are rock bottom and what to wait on. For example, I know my store has chicken breasts on sale just about every other week. I buy two weeks worth at a time to ensure I NEVER have to pay full price for chicken breasts. I make my meal plan based on sales almost exclusively and use my extras from the prior trip to supplement.
Meal planning starts BEFORE you go to the grocery store! See what you have in your pantry first and go from thereLaShawn of EverydayEyeCandy.com
Are meal kits worth the money?
Meal kits can definitely be worth the money if you shop sales and use them in place of take-out or some of your regular or more expensive priced meals. Are you going to find a meal kit that will beat a homemade pasta and sauce dinner in the price department? Maybe not, but the fresh ingredients and the convenience of delivery and packaging just might be worth it to you. I know it has been for me on occasion.
I would encourage families to shop around for coupon codes and check different sites. Check reviews and ask your friends and family. They are often able to share some codes with you to get a significant discount on your first few meals to help with your meal plan on a budget.
How do I save my meal plan?
Oh, the options! So many wonderful options for how to go about saving your meal plan. If you're like me, you probably want to put it somewhere your family can't miss so they don't ask you 15 times a day, “What's for dinner?” Of course, they will probably ask anyway and it only works if they can read, but maybe (eventually) you'll get them to check first!
We have a big whiteboard on our wall where I write important things and dinners, since that's the only meal I am constantly asked about at my house. Some people print their meal plan and put it on a bulletin board or their refrigerator. I have also seen chalkboards that people place on a counter or mount to a wall with a daily or weekly meal plan, too.
The best part about having it in writing somewhere is you can refer back to it when planning for the next week and look at what (if any) new meals or snacks were a big hit with the household when you make your new meal plan on a budget!
How much money can you save by meal planning on a budget?
When meal planning, look for recipes that have similar ingredients to cut down on waste. For example, it’s rare that a recipe will call for an entire bunch of celery. Do all of your meals that include celery that week.Kelly, LiveLoveTexas.com
If you practice this type of meal planning on a budget, there's no telling how much you can save. Just by strategically shopping, I was able to save about 20% on my grocery budget. Add coupons and special sales to that and the savings adds up fast!
Free Meal Plan Printable: Download Here
Print this weekly meal plan chart or use it as a guide to create your own!