Get Started Meal Planning

meal planning saves money

Plan Your Weekly Meals

Before making a grocery list, write down meals you want to make this week. Buying for the week means you will make fewer shopping trips and buy only items you need. Here are some basic tips for creating your menu and grocery list:

  • See what you already have. Look in your freezer, cabinets, and fridge. Make a note of what you currently have on hand.
  • Use a worksheet to plan your meals so everything is organized. Consider posting it on the fridge. If a family member is excited to see a favorite meal coming up, that will help motivate you.
  • Create a list of recipes to try. Find new ideas for healthy and low-cost meals based on what you have on hand, foods your family enjoys, and foods that are good buys.
  • Think about your schedule. Choose meals you can easily prepare when you don’t have a lot of time. Save recipes that take longer for days off. You can also prepare meals in advance to heat and serve on your busiest days.
  • Plan to use leftovers. Think about larger recipes with enough servings for multiple meals. This can reduce the number of ingredients you need to buy and save time that you would have spent preparing another meal.

Basic Budget Bites

Start Small

Adopting a healthy lifestyle may seem like a lot of work, but if you start small, your goals may be more realistic. Try only one or two new recipes a week max to save time and money and avoid being overwhelmed. Take note of your achievements. For example, if you decide to cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages and drink more water, notice how much money you save by drinking water and consider that an added reward.

drink water to save money

Original material sourced from USDA MyPlate and Choose MyPlate. Adapted to print in the August/September 2018 of Healthy Choices for Healthy Families. Edited by Lauren Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

4 thoughts on “Get Started Meal Planning

  1. Pingback: Meal Prep to Save Time, Frustration, & Calories | Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

  2. Pingback: Increase Savings by Decreasing Food Waste | Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

  3. Pingback: How to Eat Healthy on a Budget | Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

  4. Pingback: Trimming Expenses When Income Is Tight | Oldham County Cooperative Extension Blog

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