Thursday, September 8, 2016

$125 Monthly Grocery Budget for a Family of 5...Say What!?!? ~ Plan Before You Go

Now that you know our exceptions, this next step is to PLAN BEFORE YOU GO.  

There are several ways to do this. The simplest way is to look at what you already have.  Often times, you can find meals or parts of meals in your cabinets, fridge and freezer. It is a waste of money to buy something that you already have at home.  After months of doing this, I was really good about knowing what was in the cabinets, etc, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t make a mistake.  If you aren’t great at remembering what you have, you can make lists or an inventory of what you have.  I’ve done this as well, especially with freezers.  I am constantly cleaning out and rearranging my cabinets, fridge, and freezers to ensure no food is wasted and that I have a good grasp on what we have.

Meal planning is another way to plan before you go.  There are lots of meal planner templates and printables out there.  I’ve done this a variety of ways.  I’ve taken a blank calendar and written specific meals for each night of the month.  That method doesn’t work as well for my family because we have a crazy schedule.  I’ve also just made a list of 30 or however many meals I will need and then crossed them off as I’ve used them.  More recently, I have a base of meals we eat each month and shop according to that and get creative the rest of the month.  Whatever works for you is fine as long as you think about making meals.  The worst thing you can do when it comes to meal planning is buy a bunch of pieces that do not go together or make a meal for your family.

Making a list is the next important step before heading to the store.  After you’ve looked around your kitchen and thought about what meals you plan to make that month, you can make your list.  My list is a mix of very specific items, ie milk, flour, sugar, and general items, ie snacks, cereal, cheese.  By having general items, it allows you to get the cheese that is the best price vs a specific kind and type of cheese. 

Next Up...Where to Shop

How do you plan before you grocery shop?

Check out the other posts in this series: Say What!?!?!, Exceptions

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