In today's blog post, we are talking about the power of weekly meal plans and how it can help you learn how to save money and time.
“What should we eat?” “What's for dinner?”
Is there a question that is honestly asked more than those two?
And, for some, it can be those dreaded questions that may even make you want to scream.
After a long day at work, raising a family, or something else, it can be stressful to think about what you should make for dinner.
With the amount of food a person eats, these questions can even come up multiple times a day! So, how do you stop asking these questions while saving money?
The solution is that you should create a weekly meal plan!
So, what is meal planning?
Meal planning is when you list out exactly what meals you'll make for the week. You create this meal plan before you shop so that you know exactly what you need to buy in order to make the meals.
And, yes, we meal plan too.
One of the areas that I've always struggled with is eating at home. I never feel creative enough to think of new meal ideas, I'm not patient enough to deal with a recipe that takes hours to prepare, and I often fall victim to the myth that eating out will just be easier.
Meal planning is something that has completely changed our lives. We eat healthier than ever, we save time, we are saving money, and we have less food waste.
If you have trouble eating at home, then try out $5 Meal Plan. They send meal plans directly to your email and I have included my review of them at the bottom of this blog post.
Related blog posts on weekly meal plans:
- 16 Smart Ways To Save Money On Groceries
- How to Eliminate Food Waste from Your Fridge
- 30+ Ways To Save Thousands of Dollars a Month
- 8 Things To Sell To Make Money
- 75+ Ways To Make Extra Money
- How To Live On One Income
Here are the positives of weekly meal plans.
You can save money with weekly meal plans.
Creating weekly meal plans can help a family save money on groceries in multiple ways, which we will expand on further in the sections below.
- You'll spend less money on gas driving back and forth to the grocery store.
- You'll waste less food because you'll know exactly what you need for meals.
- You won't buy as many extra snacks and items at the grocery store.
- You'll eat out less because you will already have your meals planned.
You'll save time with weekly meal plans.
People spend a lot of time thinking about what they will make each night for dinner or even wandering the aisles at the grocery store trying to think of a meal.
And, we’ve all had to make trips back to the store because we’ve forgotten one or two items for that night’s dinner. So, instead of driving to the store every other day to buy the one or two items that you need for a meal, you can plan a whole week's worth of meals and purchase everything that you need at once.
With a weekly meal plan, you'll know exactly what you need, how much of that item that you need, and so on.
Meal plans tell you exactly what you need because it will all have been thought out ahead of time. Thinking about your weekly meal plan in one sitting is much easier and more time efficient than doing the same process every single day of the week.
There's less food waste with weekly meal plans.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that most families waste around 40% of food each month!
Yes, a lot of food is thrown away each month. Food spoils, leftovers are thrown away, too much food is cooked, and so on.
Meal planning is great for many reasons, and one of the big reasons is that it prevents food waste. By purchasing only what you need to make a meal, you will have less food waste.
Ever since we switched to creating weekly meal plans, we have had far less food waste because we know exactly what we need to buy each week in order to make our meals.
You'll be able to better plan your grocery trips.
We've all gone to the grocery store and have bought random items that we thought would make a meal, then have gotten home and have wondered “what can I even make with this stuff?”
We often buy these random things because we shop without a grocery list, and that is also a bad idea because you generally won’t know what you need, how much you need, or anything like that. This may lead to you buying items that you then end up throwing away because you don’t use them before they spoil.
Shopping with a grocery list can also prevent you from purchasing unnecessary items because you’ll only go to the aisles and areas that are on your list, rather than scanning every single aisle and shelf in the grocery store.
This will also help prevent impulse purchases.
Before you head to the grocery store, you should plan your trip with a list and weekly meal plan. By doing so, you’ll be able to save money on groceries because your trip will be better planned for finding sales, deals, buying exactly what you need, and so on.
You can eat more healthy with meal plans.
Many people eat out because they are too tired to think of a meal to eat at home. This leads to eating unhealthy meals out or resorting to junk food to fill your stomach.
One of the great benefits of weekly meal plans is that you can create healthy meal plans for you and your family. With weekly meal planning, you'll be less likely to eat out or to eat an unhealthy snack. Instead, you'll have a healthy meal planned and ready for you to make!
Meal planning can allow you to create more diverse meals.
Do you ever get tired of eating the same meal over and over again?
By meal planning, you'll be able to cook new meals because you'll have thought about exactly what you need ahead of time. You won't have to resort to the same meals over and over again when you're too tired to think of a meal because the hard work has already been completed!
What do weekly meal plans look like?
A weekly meal plan can be whatever you want it to be. It can consist of every single meal that you make each week, just dinners, lunch and dinners, and so on.
For us, our weekly meal plan consists of the dinners that we will eat each week. This is because our breakfasts are always the same (eggs, fruit, and toast), lunches either consist of us going out to eat (we RV and like to try all the best lunch spots that we can in new towns!), leftovers, or something else easy like sandwiches.
Here's a sample meal plan for us. It's really this easy:
- Monday – Tacos
- Tuesday – Spaghetti with salad
- Wednesday – Chili
- Thursday – Chicken Teriyaki with white rice
- Friday – Out to eat somewhere or with a friend
- Saturday – Crockpot stew
- Sunday – Steak with vegetables and salad
Creating a weekly meal plan is super easy, and it's even easier if you use a meal planning service because they tell you exactly what to buy and what to eat.
To create our meal plan, I take my favorite recipes from $5 Meal Plan as talked about below, as well as mix in my own favorite meals, and/or something fun that I may have found on Pinterest that week.
The weekly meal plan solution – $5 Meal Plan.
$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every single week for just $5 a month.
Sometimes I’m great when it comes to meal planning, but other times I am quite bad. To overcome this problem, I just have meal plans sent directly to me. I never understood this before, so I always skipped meal planning subscriptions because I thought I would just do the work myself. However, at $5 a month, with a lot of the legwork already completed, it is a GREAT idea.
The weekly meal plans are designed by Erin Chase of $5 Dinners and she’s able to make each meal for less than five dollars. They even have a gluten free menu planner version too!
$5 Meal Plan offers a 14-day, 100% risk free trial. I started using this meal planning service over one year ago and it has helped us eat at home more.
By signing up for a weekly meal planner, you can save money, time, and stress by having weekly meal plans sent directly to you.
With $5 Meal Plan, each week you will receive a menu that includes:
- Five dinner entrees with sides – Each week they include one freezer friendly, one slow cooker, and one 20-minute meal.
- They also include one lunch and one breakfast meal.
- A random “goodie” each week – sometimes it’s a dessert, sometimes a beverage, and sometimes it’ll be a snack.
You can sign up for $5 Meal Plan here.
Do you create weekly meal plans? Why or why not? What meal planning service do you use?
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