This month, along with the rest of the country, we started our own family “quarantine”. Since the coronavirus has us all staying home, I’ve definitely been cooking more. Luckily, I had been attempting meal planning before all this started. The hubs and I have started being more conscious with our meal planning. We realized we were spending a TON on groceries. As a family of 3, we were spending close to $700 a month on food! So we started to do a modified version of meal planning to help keep our spending down. Here’s how we meal plan.
Always keep staples on hand
After about a month of really paying attention to our meals, we realized we pretty much cook and eat the same things on a weekly basis. So we make sure we always have those items on hand. For us, that means chicken breasts, eggs, hamburger meat, and a variety of spices.
Take inventory BEFORE going shopping
Our biggest problem when it came to grocery spending was that we never shopped with a list because we always bought the same things. Literally every two weeks, we’d buy the same meat, fruits, veggies, and everything else that we did before without taking into account if we had used up what we already had. Our biggest savings has come from actually looking at what we have in the house before we go to the store. I still don’t use a paper list. Because we only shop at Wegmans, I use the Wegmans app to create our list during the week as we run out of things or as I think of things we need. This step alone has helped us save a TON.
Consider using delivery services
Another major way that we’ve started saving money is by using meat and produce delivery services. We use to use meal prep services (my personal fave is Home Chef) but realized we were letting that food go to waste. Now we use Butcher Box and Misfits Market to get our meat and produce delivered directly to the house. Butcher Box sends us chicken breasts and ground beef in every box so we always have that on hand. But they also send us fun cuts of meat that the hubs gets to experiment with in the kitchen.
Because we keep so many spices on hand, we always have what we need to cook something up. Misfits Market sends us fresh fruits and veggies every other week which also allows us to cut back on our in-store spending and eat what it’s season. (You can use the code COOKWME-SJ0ZHC for 25% off your first box!)
Give Yourself A Break
The #1 reason I’ve always failed at meal planning is because I end up not wanting what I’ve planned for the week. Because I no longer plan a strict menu and instead cook with what we have, I’m more likely to stick to home cooking and eating. But I do allow at least once a week a day where we can order in.
While our family doesn’t do meal planning in the traditional sense, we’ve found that these four tips help us keep costs down and eat healthier meals. Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard if you adapt it for your lifestyle!