save hundred of dollars with a meal plan

Save hundreds of dollars every month with this 5-step meal plan

In Meal Planning by Phil McGilvrayLeave a Comment

Is your grocery spending killing your household budget? Is food eating all your income!!

In this blog, I want to share with you the simple 5 step strategy I give to all my clients to help them significantly reduce the monthly grocery spending.

Groceries are typically the biggest are of over expenditure

When it comes to the household budget, groceries are easily one of the biggest expenses. Typically, the only thing bigger than our grocery spending is our rent or mortgage repayments.

But without a purposeful plan what we spend on groceries can easily get out of hand. As a Budget Coach, I am in no doubt that grocery spending is the most common area of over-expenditure.

Lack or routine, bad habits and laziness can cost your household budget hundreds of dollars every single month.

A simple plan to take control of your grocery spending and your budget

So one of the first things I get all of my clients to do when looking for ways to save money is to implement a weekly meal planning process following this simple 5 step process:


Step # 1 – Identify 20-30 meals you routinely eat as a family

Start by sitting down with your family and come up with a list of evening meals that you eat (and hopefully enjoy) on a regular basis.

Most couples and families typically have a repertoire of meals that they randomly rotate through over a 1 to 2 month period. So start by identifying what those meals are for you and your family and then grow your list from there. Ideally you are looking for at least 20 different meals.


Step # 2 Divide this list of meals up based on the cost of each meal.

Once you have your list of meals divide the list into cheaper and more expensive meals. You don’t need to know exactly what each meal costs but you would know for instance that a meal of savoury rice is significantly cheaper than Lasagne. Or that spaghetti Bolognaise is cheaper than lamb roast.

Having these two lists will help you when trying to balance your meal plan for the week around your budget.


Step # 3 Plan your meals for the week ahead

It does not matter which day of the week is your Grocery shopping day but what is important is that before you shop you sit down and prepare a meal plan for the week ahead.

Knowing what the week ahead looks like sit down and identify which meals you will eat on which nights. Make sure you have easy to prepare meals for the days you will get home late, or plan to cook a double portion one night so you can have left overs.

Try find a good balance between your cheaper and more expensive meals.

Within a few weeks of following this plan most of my clients find a balance that suits their budget. For some they have no choice but to stick to the cheaper end of the spectrum for all the meals while most find that they can afford 1 more expensive to say every 2 to 3 cheaper meals.

The key is to plan your meals for the week, and to base this plan around your grocery budget. To help you do this you can download our Meal Planning worksheets here.


Step # 4 Create a shopping list

Once you know what your meals will be for the week, have a look in your fridge, have a look in your pantry and then put together a shopping list of the things you will need.

This is an incredibly important part of the process for two reasons, firstly it ensures you only buy what you need and secondly it significantly reduces waste.

Purposefully creating a shopping list will ensure you don’t accumulate a fridge full of out of date condiments and mouldy vegetables.


Step # 5 Shop to your list

The last part of this strategy is simple – shop to your list. Don’t look left or right just shop to the list!

Actually, this is a lot harder than it looks, the supermarkets spend hundreds of millions of dollars on researching consumer psychology. They know how to entice you into spending more so establishing a routine is important.

Where possible shop the same time every week, always shop after you have eaten (not before) and reward yourself with a treat of some sort for getting through the Grocery shopping and sticking to the list.

And if you find that it’s all too hard to resist the temptations try ordering your groceries online, the delivery fee is a small price to pay if it means you stick to your shopping list.


Practise makes perfect

With practise, it shouldn’t take any more than 15-20 minutes to plan your meals each week. Far less time than you would waste on daily trips to the Grocery store.

To help you organise yourself you can download our Meal Planning worksheets here.

Shopping to a meal plan is a simple discipline that will save you time, reduce waste, help you eat healthier and best of all save hundreds of dollars every week.


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