Wednesday, July 9

Meal Planning and Saving $$$

If there's one thing that saves my family money on the grocery bill each week it would be meal planning. Not only does it prevent me from running to the store for that "one thing" that ends up being a whole basket full of food but we eat healthier when we stick to the original menu. Growing up, it wasn't uncommon for us kids to do the family grocery shopping for the week. Shopping on a budget and living about 20 minutes outside of town mean't you didn't run to the store or grab fast food for dinner, you ate what was planned for the week.

Because of MY love for meal planning and saving money, I'm super excited to begin posting a week of dinners for you each week. My intent is to post healthy and frugal meal ideas from a variety of different bloggers and websites.

A few tips that save us money include:

1. Pay no more than $3 a pound for protein. Chicken or pork I look for prices under $2 a pound. If a recipe calls for a protein that's pricey, I substitute it for a meat that I can find for a good deal.

2. Eat Vegetarian. My meat and potato military husband was at first a little skeptical on this one. On an average week we have 2 meals that don't include meat. These dinners are a great opportunity to try satisfying veggies and legumes and save money on the grocery bill. My husband now requests these meatless meals! 

3. Don't pay for convenience food. Frozen dinner's are EASY I get it! They're also often packed with tons of salt and preservatives, things I don't want my family consuming on a regular basis. And if your trying to save money, these tend to cost more than their homemade counterparts. 

4. Be careful with coupons. Coupons can be a great money saver, but only if that product is something you were already going to use. Stocking up on "pudding cups" or "chocolate cream cookies" no matter how good the deal is, won't save me money unless those items were already on my list. 

5. Stick to a budget. If you've budgeted say $100 to spend each week on food, than don't go over that amount. It may be helpful to carry that budgeted amount in cash to the store, that way you have a visual on how much you can spend shopping. 

6. Live a little. It's okay to splurge once in a while. I've had weeks when I really wanted shrimp and paid the $10 (ouch!) a pound for those succulent little sea creatures. 

I'd love to see your tips on saving money and eating healthy so please post your tips and advice! 

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