People ask all the time how I manage to only go to the grocery store once a week. They usually follow it up with, “Do you still plan your meals for the week, too?’
Yes and yes.
Meal planning is how I can manage to go to the store only once a week. Meal planning is how I spend less than $60.00 each week to feed the three of us. Meal planning has completely changed the way we eat, spend our money, and spend our time in the evenings.
A few things: I do not plan all three meals each day; I do plan all dinners; I do not expect that we will 100% stick to it every day; I do not meal plan Saturdays.
And another: I attempted (approximately once) to plan all three meals each day. It wasn’t worth it for. Our daily schedule is not regular enough to make it worth my time. I just make sure we’re stocked up on lunch and breakfast staples.
Last one: I do not stock up on things. I only buy them as needed. It keeps my pantry organized, my fridge clean, and our waste minimal.
The easiest thing for me is to pick a no-compromise meal and work from there (sometimes we have two). This week, Mr. Gray wanted some beef (we’re working on a freezer clean out, so we’ve been all soups and casseroles lately) and asked for burgers and fries. The way we make that doesn’t leave much for leftovers or have many ingredients we don’t use to rollover to another night. Then I build in some other meals that I can duplicate ingredients or make enough for leftovers. I try to make note of nights we will be late or will be out so we can plan that accordingly as well. As of late, I am trying to include a freezer meal on our plan as well; we’re cleaning that puppy out!
I have always used Zenbe to list our meals because it syncs between our phones, but that part is not important (I’ve tried some actual meal-planning apps, but they are always too overwhelming for me). A piece of notebook paper would suffice. What’s important is the actual plan and then the grocery list that follows. Only list what you need for the meals being cooked.
I promise it’s super easy. It’s not as clear when I try to broaden it to fit every example. Feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment (make sure you’re not a no-reply blogger so you can get my answer) if there is something more specific I can answer.
I really want to start meal planning… could you send me a sample of what you make and buy in a week?