Free Weekly Meal Planner With Grocery List
Each week I sit down and make a menu plan for the week. I don’t know about you, but if my meal planning is off, a bunch of things are off! My budget tends to be a bit haywire, my diet goes out the window and every night I am running around trying to figure out what to feed people. And do I need to mention that this is no fun? This is where having a weekly menu plan and a grocery list will go a long way to saving your sanity (and some money too!).
One question I know you have is, “How do I start meal planning?”. Believe it or not, it is simple but I do suggest that you take it slowly and add one or two new strategies at a time. If you are anything like me I get overwhelmed with new techniques that require too many new things on my part. Start slow and you will get to your finish line! It all adds up to better organization and saving money.
In general, meal plans also lend themselves to healthier eating which leads to a healthier “you”. So, basically, it is hard to go wrong when you add meal planning to your life!
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for your free weekly meal planning printables. It is free and it will help you implement getting organized in the kitchen.
Let’s get started!
Why Should I Start Menu Planning?
There are a number of reasons why menu planning will be helpful. To begin with, you will save money. Going to the store with a shopping list once a week will save you money no matter what. You will be left with fewer opportunities to impulse buy and you will be more inclined to save money simply because you aren’t eating based on your cravings.
You will also find yourself eating more “real food”. When you are flying by the seat of your pants every day it is much easier to buy frozen pizza bites rather than taking the time to make a real dinner for your family. Instead of heading to the grocery store each and every day you can use that time to cook healthy and delicious meals.
Meal plans are a great way to save time and live in less stress. This is because you have a plan and you are working it. Taking time on the front end to plan a menu, write out a shopping list, check for sales. and do one big shopping trip will keep you in control of both your diet and your finances.
How To Start Meal Planning
Where and how do you start? You need to ask yourself a number of questions to find that out. Trust me when I say that this will become natural and will require very little thought once you get going, but to start you might need to take some time to figure out what is needed.
- How many people are you feeding?
- Is it just you and your family?
- Do friends drop by often and eat at your house?
- Are your kids in a lot of after-school activities that need quick on-the-go meals?
- Will you be sitting down as a family for a full meal?
- What does your crew like to eat?
- How much time do you like to spend in the kitchen?
- Are easy meals your thing?
- How many days per week will you need to make meals?
Scroll down to the bottom of this post for your downloadable meal planner with a grocery list.
Again, this is the most time-consuming part of getting your meal planning strategy figured out. Once you have it done you are well on your way to success!
Meal Planning Ideas
Now we get to the fun part. Or the hard part. It all depends on how much you like cooking for your family. Let me give you some direction when it comes to planning your meals for your family. It is definitely easier than you think!
One way to come up with menu plans is to start with something like pasta or rice. What will you add to that? Meat? Chicken? Vegetables? Sauce?
Or focus on a protein and a vegetable. Chicken with stir-fried broccoli? Steak with steamed asparagus? Be imaginative and try new things. And trust me, your kids WILL survive this!
If you work a full-time job a crock pot is a great way to get dinner done. Put all of your ingredients in the pot in the morning and dinner is done when you get home. Plus, the house smells wonderful! I have never used one, but InstaPots are supposed to be great too.
Freezer meals are great also. Search “freezer meals” or “bulk cooking” on Pinterest and you will find tons of inspiration! Freezer meals not only make one night’s dinner simple and easy, you generally make several dinners at a time with this method so it can help over the course of a busy week or month.
And don’t forget to add in a leftovers night. When you make dinners at home a nice side benefit is eating the yummy dishes one more time later in the week when you are too busy or tired to cook.
Another simple way to get started, especially if you are low on ideas, simply search “meal plans” or “menu plans” on Pinterest to find already-made menus for your week. They often include grocery lists too.
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How To Save Money At The Grocery Store
The biggest way to benefit yourself and your budget at the grocery store is a grocery list. If you stick to it you will save money every time. Be wary of veering off of it for impulse purchases as this will have you spending more money and possibly buying a lot of junk food. Letting the kids (and the husband) stay home while you shop is often a good idea.
Organizing your grocery list by category is a time-saver. The free download in this post will help you with that!
I like to check sales when I am making up my weekly menu. Arranging meals around what is low-priced at the store will keep you on a budget. Pork chops can often be priced at $5 or more per pound, so when they go on sale for $1.99 per pound they go on my list.
Another way to save money in the long run is to bulk buy items that are priced really low. The pork chops are a great item for that. Why not buy 5 pounds at the $1.99 price and freeze them in meal-sized portions? If you know your prices (you will start to catch on to this after time) you know when things are priced very low. This is the time to buy extra. If refried beans are normally $1.50 per can, buy a bunch when they go down to $.75 per can. Of course, only do this with items you use quite often.
Personally, I do not use store coupons to save on my grocery bill. But if you are interested in figuring that out, simply search “couponing” on Pinterest.
Download Your Free Printable Weekly Meal Planning Template
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Free Weekly Meal Planner With Grocery List
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- FoodPrint. ...
- Pepperplate. ...
How I Create Weekly Meal Plans (and stick to them!) - YouTube
Get Organized with Excel Weekly Meal Planner - YouTube
It's free. Yay! It's available on all of your devices, so wherever you are, whatever device you have with you, you have access to your meal plan. You can drag and drop meals around your calendar, which makes planning extra easy.
- Review your schedule.
- Choose your recipes.
- Plug the recipes into your schedule.
- Make your grocery list.
- Eat, enjoy, and repeat!