Lauren Cobello » Meal Planning » Frugal Meal Planning: How to Save Money by Meal Planning Every Week
Are you sick and tired of not knowing what to cook for dinner? I am SO happy to start my new series about how to meal plan, some meal planning tips, and my favorite recipes to use!
If you are interested in meal planning – you can download my FREE meal planning workbook here.
Meal planning alone can save you around 50% each week without even using coupons! Why? Because you buy what you need and you eat it, there is little waste and you rarely eat out because you know what is on the menu that night.
My biggest problem is that I buy my meats and usually freeze them when I get home. If I do not have my meal plan written out for that week, my meat stays frozen until around 4pm,when I realize that I forgot to take it out…by that time, it’s too late and we usually eat eggs or order pizza. Does this sound familiar to you?
So how do you get started meal planning? I’d recommend starting to plan one meal per day instead of every single meal. There are tons of great resources out there to help you! This week I’ll share some of my favorite meal planning resources, and next week we will talk finding inspiration for your meal plan by using your store flyers.
1.) Join eMeals. This is a paid meal planning service that I highly recommend. You end up paying around $5.00 per month to have an amazing meal plan delivered right to your email every week. Plans including options for healthy eating, gluten-free, and Paleo. You can add additional meals for a little extra money, and they just came out with a new dessert plan. When I first began eating gluten-free, eMeals really helped me figure out what I could eat while sticking to my budget!
They actually have a 15% off coupon code right now – use coupon code MEAL15 to get 15% off your Meal Plan from meals!
Here is a sample of what an eMeals Menu Plan looks like when it comes to you. You can choose from your local grocery stores, and they will pick the prices from your local store! It helps keep you within your budget. If my meal plan for the week is over $80.00, I take away one meal and do breakfast for dinner which is a cheaper option.
You also get a weekly shopping list with the price breakdown of everything you’ll need. Your expenses will be less if you have some of these items in your stockpile. Another benefit of building a small stockpile!
eMeals is the perfect service for busy bees who want to take the work out of meal planning. It stops you from getting stuck in a meal rut, and encourages you with new recipes! I’ve added many new things to my weekly meal plan because they were THAT delicious!
2.) AllRecipes.com is a great website that allows you to type in and search for ingredients you have on hand, and recipes that include those ingredients. This helps me if I haven’t been grocery shopping recently and have random things lying around. I simply search their database using what I have on hand, and end up with something tasty!
Let’s say you type in these three ingredients because they’ re already in your pantry. You can search based just on these ingredients and see which recipes to cook. This is really helpful when you grab something on sale and you need a recipe for it.
These are a few of the recipes that I’ve gotten with the items I searched for above. You can read others’ reviews of the recipes, and get suggestions on how to improve them! Definitely read the reviews first, as I’ve found some flaws, but have been able to fix them before I started cooking! That was a huge time saver!
3.) Pinterest. – Of course! I LOVE Pinterest for recipes, but you have to be careful because often the photo looks great but it tastes terrible! I’ve done that a few times, so Pinterest is not necessarily the easiest way to find reliable recipes. Psssst… if you are not following me on Pinterest – please connect with me here.
4.) Use my Recipe resources right here on the blog. You can find all of my tested recipes and each one is guaranteed to be under $10.00 per meal! We add a few new ones per month, so make sure to ‘Pin’ them and save for later! My husband Mark is actually a better cook than I am, so he posts a lot of the recipes. I post most of the baked goods and kitchen tips.