Hi guys! On my last post, I covered a lot of ground, with a lot of broad information. If you haven’t read that post yet, here is it! It’s a great start, covering some basic rules we have followed that has saved us $600 in just two and a half months! SERIOUSLY! Today, I wanted to break down (at least part of it) for you. We are talking planning! I feel like this is something we hear pretty often–planning and saving go hand and hand. Welp, guess what-it’s true! Planning DOES save you money!
Ok. This seems kind of obvious but plan your meals, folks! Plan your meals for the week and make sure you account for all the needed ingredients for each meal! Pinterest is a great resource for recipes but if you’re like me with (what feels like) a million pins, it can be tricky to keep a recipe handy to refer back to. I created a separate “Meal Planning” board and add all the recipes I plan on making in the next couple weeks right on that board. GAME CHANGER! That board stays much smaller so it’s easier to find what you are looking for and refer back to for checking ingredients needed to add to my shopping list. It’s also easier to reference the directions when it’s time to make. I simply delete the pin from that board (making sure it is saved to my general “Recipes” board, so I can find it again) after I have made it. Also, is there a needed ingredient that you don’t use often? Search for other recipes around that ingredient to use it up and get your money’s worth. Bonus-get meal planning inspiration around what is on sale! This takes us to our next part!
SHOP THE SALES
Again. Pretty obvious. But shop the sales! I do almost all of our food shopping at Aldi and they start their sales on Wednesday of every week. Friday is my shopping day so that gives me a couple days to scan the weekly sale (online) and plan out my meals and shopping list. And don’t forget, when you find a deal worth stocking up on, you still need to stay within your budget. You either need to make up for it that same shopping trip-by taking some things off your list or out of your shopping cart. Or if you have the self-control and will power, be sure to make up the difference at your next shopping trip. This part is key! Say chicken is marked down lower then you thought, so you grab some extra and end up going over budget by $20. Simply, lower next week’s budget by $20. We have spent more than we wanted to many times and have always justified it. No justifying it anymore-just make up the difference. These are the little things that can make a huge difference when looking at the big picture! Trust me!
PLAN THE REST OF YOUR WEEK OR MONTH
So this one may not be as obvious but it’s turned out to be the most beneficial for us. When meal planning and making your shopping list, you want to consider more than just Taco Tuesday of Pizza Friday. What else is going on that week? Or the next couple weeks or month for that matter? Maybe a family gathering that you need to bring a dish to? A bridal shower you need a gift for? These are all things to consider. It’s easy to forget this things/not account for them in your budget. Having to bring something to a party would be something I would easily forget. Then I would be running back to the store. And let’s be honest it would a different, more (expensive), conveniently located store on the way to said party. Total waste of money! If you are volunteering to bring a dish somewhere, consider the cost and brainstorm around what is on sale. Find something on sale? Think about if you should double the recipe and keep half at home for your family as a meal. If you have a shower or party to attend where you need to bring a gift, consider that into your budget too! Try to start shopping early! Keep your eyes out for sales and/or coupons. We will most likely need to cut back on something else that week to compensate for buying the gift.
Again, the most important thing about all of this is give and take. “Having it all” isn’t free-it takes planning! And the more you do it, the easier it will become! Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and click “follow” to get email updates so you never miss a post.