People ask me all the time if I use coupons when I shop. Intermittently, yes. Consistently, no. I have found that when I coupon shop, I buy things we don’t actually need.
Instead, I meal plan. I started several years ago, and I’ve gotten better at it with time. I buy exactly what we need each week and skip the rest. Sunday afternoon, Mr. Gray and I decide what we want to eat that week (weekdays; our weekends are too crazy to try to fit to a meal plan). We look at the calendar for the week to account for evenings where our schedule may be a little strange as well as lunches Baby Gray and I won’t be home. We usually plan two or three meals and a leftover night.
We make our list based on what we come up with for dinners, and I try to fit lunches in around leftovers as well.
I use Zenbe to keep up with both of these lists. It gives you the ability to mark things off as you go, plus, I can keep items from last week’s list (things I buy each week: bananas, milk, waffles) for the following week.
Before I started meal planning, it was no big deal for me to go to the store five times a week. Now, I go once. Before, I spent over $100 a week–for just the two of us! Ridiculous. Now, it is rare I spend over $60 for the three of us for the week. Before, we would eat out a couple of nights a week (on top of the $100+ I was spending at the grocery store). Now, it is rare that we go out during the week. I do not miss the grocery store, and I do not miss the added cost. I certainly don’t miss the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” discussion. I don’t know who to thank or how I started meal planning, but when I remember, I’m giving them a great big hug!