Sitting down with your family and writing out a meal plan is extremely important to saving money and creating a smart shopping habit. Some families like to meal plan by the month, others by the week and for a select few, there is a nightly meal plan. There are certain benefits to each one of these types of meal plans as well as certain drawbacks. No matter what style you choose, each one will save you money and time when it comes to healthy dinners.
Monthly – These meal plans are extremely helpful for families on the go. Monthly meal plans help big families and active families to see what is for dinner on any given night. It also allows those who are doing the planning to fit certain foods around the monthly schedule. For instance, on a night where all three kids need to be in different places within thirty minutes of each other, pizza might be a good alternative. Monthly menu plans may also include pre-preparation and freezing, making it easier as a grab and go type meal.
Weekly – Weekly meal plans are usually more typical due to the frequency of store visits. Most families abide by the weekly meal plan, buying just enough food for that week, so a minimal amount goes bad. This meal plan is best for a family that may not be on a tight schedule, but on a schedule none-the-less.
Nightly – Nightly meal plans offer the most flexibility when it comes to meal plans. These meal plans are usually for people who live near a store or market and are extremely health conscious. This specific meal plan usually includes copious amounts of fresh fruits and veggies. Since the meal planner has all day to come up with what they would like for dinner, these meals are usually more in depth when it comes to preparing.
Meal planning in itself is a giant cost savings habit. It is a habit because in today’s microwave society, where we want everything instantly, it is extremely easy to stop at the drive through or order out if in a pinch for time. The savings comes in with advanced planning.
If you spend ten dollars a day for food at a restaurant, you can easily spend $200 a month, which equates to $2,400 per year. If you also figure that meal planning allows you to eat those same meals for five dollars a day, you are already saving over a thousand dollars a year.
Food is much less expensive if purchased in a store. Just take a look at the cost of a steak in a restaurant versus buying that same cut in a store and cooking at home. The cost saving is ridiculous.
Sit down and try out each type of meal planning to see which one works best for your family. If you do need a night to eat out, make sure it is in your food budget, so you don’t end up with more month than you have money. No one likes a ramen meal plan if they can help it. Once you have decided which meal plan technique works best for you, find a set time to sit down and write out what you plan on cooking that evening, week or month. Stick to the game plan and watch your cost savings grow.