Let's talk about how to create a budget-friendly monthly meal planner. In 2020, the average American family spent about $412 a month on food at home. If that family dined out, then that expense grew higher to $610. If you are looking to save on your family's monthly food expenses, it is time to have a plan: more specifically, a monthly meal plan.
What is a monthly meal planner?
A monthly meal planner is a potentially ingenious way to save money on your family's monthly food expenses. With a monthly meal planner, you plan your family's meals an entire month in advance. This type of long-term planning can potentially provide you with several advantages, from saving money to saving time in food preparation.
Why plan out meals for the month
Here is a look at some of the most compelling reasons to consider creating a monthly meal planner.
Potentially saves money
When you plan out your family's monthly meals, you can better budget how much you are going to spend. Doing this will help you to control how much you spend on food each month.
Prevents impulse purchases
Most supermarkets are designed for impulse buying. When you plan out your meals a month in advance, it lowers the possibility of making an impulse buy at the supermarket. This alone can save you big money every month in impulse purchases.
Saves time planning
Time is money. When you are running a tight schedule, you can save yourself a trip to the supermarket because you already have the food you will be making for dinner that evening.
Tips to create a budget-friendly monthly meal budget planner
Now that you know the value of creating a monthly meal budget planner let us look at how you can make this plan work better for you. Here are seven tips that might help you plan out your family's monthly meals better.
- Shop with a list
The first thing that you will want to do is create a list. Since you are making a list for the month, you will be better able to plan out what you need to buy and how much it will cost. Doing this could also save you time when you are at the supermarket.
- Look for sales
Supermarkets usually have weekly sales where you can save some serious money. Be sure to check out your supermarket's weekly flyers. If you do not get supermarket flyers in the mail, you can check the supermarket's website. You can also stop by the supermarket and pick up the weekly flyer.
With the supermarket's weekly sales, you can begin to create your shopping list. First, be sure to check how long the sales prices are good for. The best supermarket deals are usually only available for a limited time.
- Buy in bulk
You can potentially save a large amount of money when you buy in bulk. That is because unit prices are usually lower when you buy something in a large amount. Since you are creating a monthly meal budget, you will be better able to know what you should buy in bulk. Be sure the food you buy in bulk will not expire during the month.
Here are some long-lasting items that may help you save money if you buy in bulk:
- Canned food
- Peanut butter
- Frozen meals
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
- Non-perishable snacks
- Use online coupons
One way that you could save money on your supermarket trips is to make use of online coupons. Yes, you can find coupons online that are good at your local supermarket. A simple search on your favorite search engine will provide you with a list of great places to get coupons.
- Repurpose leftovers
There is a chance that you have leftovers. Be sure to repurpose those leftovers for lunch the next day. Doing this could allow you to save even more money when it comes to your family meals.
Here are some ways that you can repurpose leftovers to create exciting lunch meals the next day.
- Leftover meatballs from dinner can be used to create meatball sandwiches.
- Leftover food from taco night can be used to create a taco salad.
- Leftover chicken can be used to create a chicken salad.
- Leftover potatoes and vegetables can be used to create a soup.
- Keep things simple
Part of budgeting for your family meals is to try to save time as well as money. You should consider planning simple meals that can be completed in less than an hour.
Here is a look at some simple meals that you can create for your family:
- Spaghetti and meatballs
- Tacos and burritos
- Hamburgers with French fries
- Meatloaf with mashed potatoes
- Roasted chicken with roasted veggies
- Print out a pre-made calendar
Are you too busy to plan out a whole month of meals in advance? Don't worry. Several websites and "mommy blogs" allow you to print out a monthly calendar filled with meal ideas.
With these pre-filled meal planners, you save lots of time figuring out what meals for the next 30 days. Then, all you have to do is estimate what food you need to buy for the month, and you are ready to go.
Saving money and time with monthly meal budget planning for the family
With a monthly meal planner, you can potentially save yourself a good amount of money on food expenses. Be sure to buy in bulk and make use of leftovers to make your savings go even further. And don't' forget to take advantage of online coupons and weekly sales. With the proper planning, you can potentially save more than you'd expect on your family's monthly food budget.