When it comes to menu planning, these budgeting tips are going to transform how you view your grocery budget. There are so many simple tricks to help you create amazing meals for your family on a budget, and this post has some of the best. With a few simple tricks up your sleeve, you can provide your family with delicious meals without breaking the bank.
7 Budgeting Tips For Menu Planning
Ask your butcher for budget cuts of meat.
Not only can you watch for the sales on meat at your market or grocery store, but you can talk directly to the butcher. Sometimes they will have meat that isn’t bad, but can be sold at a fraction of the regular price for some reason. End pieces of whole rib eyes can be found at low prices because they aren’t enough to be a “steak”. Ask for these bits and then cube for stews or braised beef dishes. Sometimes meat isn’t out of date, but close to it and the butcher has to mark it down. Grab those mark downs and cook in advance simply then freeze to add into other menu items later.
Use your slow cooker.
Slow cooker or Instant Pot recipes are one of the best ways to stick to your menu plan as well as stay on budget. One of the best budgeting tips is to use those budget cuts of meat and tenderize them for amazing meals in your slow cooker or Instant Pot. A beef roast or whole chicken can feed your family several meals for half the price, but may not be as convenient or easy to cook in the oven. Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot and let them do the work for you.
Utilize your own garden if possible.
If you have time and space to have your own garden, this is a huge savings for your menu plan each week. Learn to can or freeze your excess produce for future use, and use your surplus year round in your weekly menu plans.
Build around low cost staple items.
For most this means picking up things like dry beans, brown rice and sweet potatoes that are low cost but can stretch a meal further. While many would find this unhealthy, if you combine this with nutrient-dense vegetables and limit your high-fat proteins you truly can eat healthy. Focus on whole grains when possible and limit the regular potatoes, corn and white rice.
Buy what is on sale and match with couponed pantry items.
For sales at your market or grocery, take the time to check your coupons and shop using those coupons on sale items. You’ll get get twice as much value toward your menu plan!
Create your menu with what you have on hand first.
One of the best budgeting tips for menu planning is to start not with what you want to buy, but what you already have on hand. Look at your pantry, freezer and refrigerator for great starts to a meal. Utilize your on-hand items and limit your week to week expenses as much as possible focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Want something to write your menu plan on? Check out these 7 Free Weekly Printable Meal Planners.
Utilize one item multiple ways.
One of my favorite ways to save money is to cook dry beans in my slow cooker or Instant Pot. Dry beans can be seasoned and eaten by themselves, added to soups or chili, refried to make dips or put into burritos. This simple item can be used multiple ways for very cheap.
Take advantage of our favorite budgeting tips for menu planning that will stretch your budget even further.