I'm pretty sure everyone of us has been there - trying to lower your grocery bill. At the end of the month you're looking at your grocery spendings and you're wondering if you've been feeding the entire high school football team. How else could you explain the insane amount of money you spent on food?
The first step in cutting your grocery bill is the hardest one. Until now you've been telling yourself that it's imposible to spend any less money on food. You persuaded yourself that you're shopping only for what you need and that's the way it is. Everybody spends a loot on groceries. But is it?
Go look into your fridge. Do you see the old cucumbers that looked so delicious in the store but you forgot about them the minute you trew them into the fridge? I used to have a fridge full of delicious foods that I bouthg because I felt like buying it, but I didn't have any plan on how to use it. It might be cucumebrs for some of you, it my be cheese, or asparagus, it can be anything. But it might go bad before you use it.
If you're reading this you probably already did the first step - you admit there's another way.
Planning your meals
That way for me is planning meals. Once you know what you're going to cook the next week you know if you'll use that wonderfully looking asparagus smiling at you in the veggies section of your store. If it's not on you meal plan, you don't buy it. That simple.
At first it takes some practicing of what you might actually need the next week. You made the meal plan, you had a specific shopping list but here you are - on Wednesday night having no rice to go with your planned homemade burittos. Mistakes happen, sometimes you forget to buy the crutial ingredient for your Monday dinner. It happens to me from time to time as well. The good news is you'll get better pretty fast and once you're comfortable using your meal plann you won!
My meal plan is always for 1 week but you can choose 2-week or 1-month plans as well. I start with gathering recipes I want to make the next week. I use these awesome recipe cards for storing all my recipes so it's really simple to take those I chose for next week and write down all the ingredients I need to buy.
Very important for me is to use my custom shopping list. I made the template myself and use it each Saturday when I do my weekly grocery shopping. I'm going to share my template with you today! You'll find the instructions to download it at the end of this article.
On this template I have a space to write down breakfast/lunch ideas and dinner meals for each day of the week. This way I'm sure I didn't forget to plan one dinner or all breakfasts. I might skip a dinner if I know I'll be eating out or a lunch if I have a lunch meeting at work. You can customize the meal plan to suit your exact needs. Don't forget - you're the master and you decide how it's going to be.
Now when I know what and when to cook I look at the ingredients list on each recipe card and write down everything I don't have in the kitchen.
One important point here - check you fridge and pantry before you write down what you need. You might already have an entire sack of carrots, what would you do with two of them?
Give it a try
If you're serious about cutting your grocery spendings you should definitely try meal planning. You'll avoid impulse buys and foods you already have at home. Now you'll have everything you need for the week and you don't have anything that would just be sitting in the fridge and eventually go wrong.
To make the meal planning easier for you I'm going to share with you my meal planning and shopping list template. Simply go to this page and subscribe to download your free template.