Brilliantly Creative

Sarah's Guide to Meal Planning

Chris and I don’t make official New Year’s Resolutions, but since both of our jobs have/are going through some paycheck changes, we’re working really hard to get our budget in order this year. Unfortunately, most of our discretionary spending seems to disappear into the “eating out” category of our budget.

I’ve taken it upon myself to make the most of my weekly trips to the grocery store, and I’m learning the fine art of carefully planning my meals and grocery list every week. Some weeks are easier than others. For example, this is the last week of the month, and Chris and I both have paychecks coming from a school, which means we don’t get paid until the end of the month. We’re s t r e t c h i n g the money and food this week.

A few weeks ago, I drew up this meal planning chart using a trusty Sharpie marker and graph paper. (See the picture?) In the top set of boxes, I write in the evening meal for the day and any activity we have happening that night. For example, we always have Bible study on Wednesday nights, so I don’t have to plan dinner, but I do have to plan a side dish, dessert, or salad to take. In the middle boxes, I write the groceries I need to make those meals. Before leaving the house, I double check my pantry and cross any items I already have off my list. In the bottom box, I write in any other groceries that need purchased for the week.

It’s rudimentary, but it seems to be working for me. Before committing to each week’s meal plan, I try to run it by Chris, so he can “approve” the week’s meals. He’s not too keen on leftovers, but we usually have a lot of leftovers (even when I freeze extras), so I also try to have plenty of mac and cheese on hand for him in case he doesn’t want leftover Mexican lasagna or leftover fried rice.

Anyway, I thought you all might enjoy my chart! Be inspired! Go grocery shopping! Feed your families! Save money!

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