Less stress, less waste, less spending.
I sound like an infomercial but I really have felt each of these benefits from learning to plan my meals ahead of time! The thought of asking “what’s for dinner?” every afternoon, trying to come up with a plan, maybe swinging by the grocery store because I can’t remember if I have all the ingredients, THEN starting dinner when I get home sounds exhausting for a plan-ahead and anxious personality like mine. Enter meal planning.
Whether you plan for a week, 2 weeks, or the whole month, meal planning gives you a whole lot of bang for your buck.
- Less stress– By spending an hour or two to pick out recipes and assign them to days, you know exactly what you need when you go to the store and don’t have to spend extra time stressing about if you’ve forgotten something. You also know exactly what you’re having for dinner each day. You can thaw things ahead of time, start dinner right away without deliberating what to do, and even plan for leftovers for lunch.
- Less waste– This is a big one for me, too. Before meal planning, I would often buy fresh foods and completely forget to use them before they went bad. I also would buy too much food, “just to be safe.” With meal planning, you build your grocery list right from recipes and know exactly when to use the items. While things certainly happen and we still throw out a few things, there is much less waste- including wasted money!
- Less spending– It is a universal truth that the more times you go in the grocery store, the more money you will spend. By limiting my “pop in for 1 thing, walk out with 7” trips, we have streamlined our grocery budget tremendously. You can’t predict or control prices, but you can limit your unnecessary purchases by knowing exactly what you need by planning ahead. It also saves on going out to eat because you just can’t handle making a last-minute meal or have nothing on hand. Not saying we don’t have a spontaneous date night to Chick-Fil-A every few months, but truly, we hardly ever go out to eat because we are able to eat well at home, and it’s already planned!
Now that I have been meal planning for several years, I cannot imagine doing it any other way. It takes some time investment on the front end, but the money, waste, and above all, stress it saves me are invaluable. There are so many decisions to be made each day (looking at you, decision fatigue)- so having our meals decided in advance is a huge help.
That’s why I’ve decided to put together a meal planning series & free printables to help you develop a system that reaps all these benefits in your life!
Read the series!
- Part 1: Choose Your Frequency
- Part 2: Build Your Recipe Bank
- Part 3: Make the Most of Buying in Bulk
- Part 4: Consider Shelf Life
- Part 5: Get Ready for the Store (Groceries List & Staples Checklist)
- Part 6: Help Yourself Later (Food Prep List)
- Part 7: Don’t Drive Yourself Crazy
Get the printables!
Let these worksheets do some of the work for you as you build your system. I’ve got lots of tools ready for you:
- Meal lists for weekly, biweekly or monthly plans
- Grocery lists
- Staples checklists
- Food prep lists
You can download black-and-white, ink-friendly versions instantly here, or better yet- when you join our email list, you’ll get color versions & editable Word documents sent right to your inbox!
Let’s do this together. In the comments, let me know if you’re a beginner, a master planner, or somewhere in between!
(PS- if you’ve been doing it for a while, you may want to check out my latest meal planning adventure- automation 🙂 )