Budget meal planning is vital to the health of most household budgets. Nobody looks forward to rice, pasta and beans for every meal, but sometimes a financial strain means you have to really look closely at your food intake as a place to eliminate extra expenses. These tips for busy moms to help budget meal planning become easier, are perfect for keeping you well fed and your finances in order.
Budget Meal Planning Tips For Busy Moms
Stick to what your family loves.
One of the biggest budget meal planning blunders around is trying out too many new recipes each month. Unfortunately, what looks great on a blog, television or in a magazine may not meet your families taste preferences. Stick mostly to those tried and true recipes and flavors you know everyone will eat so you aren’t wasting money on food that ends up in the garbage. Try 1-2 new recipes a month and if they are enjoyed, add them to your rotation. Here’s a list of our family’s favourite meals.
Keep an accurate track of what you have on hand.
A pantry and freezer list is a must when you are budget meal planning. Your meal plan should include items you have in stock in your pantry. Knowing what you have on hand keeps you from spending too much on items you don’t need, and will keep you from making last minute stops at the grocery and spending extra because you forgot an ingredient.
Get to know your butcher.
Whether you use a traditional butcher shop or your local grocery store meat counter, knowing the butcher is a great way to find the best deals on meats. Not only can you talk to them about the end pieces of meats that are perfect for stews and chili, but you can find out when they are running a sale, or when something is about to be marked down because it is near the end of its shelf life. These little things can save you a ton of money on meat purchases.
Create a core base of ingredients.
Many families like specific flavor profiles more than others. When you figure out what your family tends to gravitate toward, you can easily start shopping for those items in bulk. Whether it is a type of meat, produce or base like pasta or rice you can find most groceries in bulk for less than individual servings would cost.
Plan meals for leftovers.
One of the best ways to save money while meal planning is to actually plan your menu for leftovers. Not only can larger batches of some meals save money on a second evening meal, they can save money on your lunch expenses. Soups, casseroles and many one pot meals are perfect for leftovers. If your family doesn’t like eating the same thing multiple times in a row, you can easily create the double batch and store it in the freezer until later in the month. Then all you have to do is thaw and reheat in the oven or slow cooker.
These budget meal planning tips are perfect for moms who are busy juggling kids and work. Not only will they help you stay on budget each month, they will provide you with great meals your entire family will enjoy.
Moms, how do you stay on budget each month when it comes to groceries? What are your tips for making food stretch further?