Menu planning when your budget is tight can be frustrating… to say the least. So, how can you menu plan with less money and aggravation?
Check your stockpile
Hopefully, you have learn how to purchase items in bulk when they are at their rock-bottom price and have established a stockpile. So, your first step to menu planning is to take an inventory of what you have.
Keep a running total
As you write meal ideas down, keep a running total of how much those meals will cost to purchase. One of the reasons why I love using the menu planner at Build a Menu is that it tallies an estimate of my grocery bill as I add meals to the menu. I can see approximately what each meal will cost as well as a total bill.
Check the sales ads
Once you have your menu selected, make a grocery list of any additional items you need to complete your meal plan. Use an app like Favado to check the sales for great deals on the other ingredients you might need to finish our your list. Also check with Ibotta to see if any rebates are available on the groceries you plan to purchase.
Avoid impulse buys
It never fails that you will remember something when you are in the store or perhaps see something that looks like a fabulous deal. If you pick up these unexpected items, keep them in the child seat part of the basket. Before approaching the check out, ask yourself if you really need those items and evaluate your total purchase before making a decision.
Track the cost
When you make it to the grocery store, you can keep a running total of what you are placing in the shopping cart with a small calculator, but I often forget whether or not I have punched in the price and end up missing a few items. So, I recommend writing the prices down on your list and then totaling them before entering the check out lane. Don’t forget to add tax if necessary.
While we cannot always inflate our grocery budget with more money, we can control how we react by choosing wisely and using these tools to make our planning easier.
Great meal planning tools:
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