Well you got through the budgeting blog! I hope it helped! If you read it, please let me know your thoughts… is there anything I can clear up a bit? Any questions needing answered?
Next up is the Meal Planning portion! This one is much easier and a little more fun 😉
Let’s start with the beginning and work our way down!
#1 : Tabs
Pretty sure no explanation needed here 😉
#2: Meal Planner
Okay so here are the steps I take IN ORDER:
1 – Print out my blank meal planning sheet
– make sure your dates are right. I try and always shop on Wednesdays and so you always include the shop day at the end so that you don’t run out of food before then! That only makes you want to spend extra money on eating out.
2 – While it’s printing, I go through the fridge and clean it out (pitch old stuff, clean it up)
3 – I then write down what I have that I can use this week.
4 – Once that is done, I start filling in my blank Meal Plan Sheet.
– I start adding in what I want to do for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks (pencil works best so you can easily edit.)
5 – Don’t forget your eating out days!
– If you’ve created a budget, this is easy. Just figure out what your weekly eating out budget is, and then fill in however many days you want to eat out!
– For us, we always go to Culver’s on Tuesdays after Eric is done teaching lessons. We also pick 2 more days in the week to eat out as well. Our budget is about $40 per week for eating out, $55 per week for groceries.
Now that your sheet is all filled out, move on to the shopping list!
#3: Shopping List
I know this seems a bit much but wow does it save me some time! I wish I had done this sooner. This is the list I use and update every week. I have formulas in place so that when I change the number of ingredients, it multiplies automatically for the total price. It then applies the taxes and adds it all up so I know exactly how much I will spend including taxes once I’m there. If you want to really be serious about your budget, this is a very easy, and quick way to stay on top of it!
So quick steps to take:
1 – Using your Meal Plan Sheet, add in all the ingredients you’ll need.
2 – Add in the quantity of ingredients you’ll need.
3 – Add in the last known price of the ingredients.
– as you’ll see below, I made a list of prices using the receipts. This part is time consuming at first (our first week we spent about 3x’s our budget in order to re-stock! Much less the prices I had to write down!) but if you shop weekly, it becomes super fast and easy and takes hardly any time at all! And… it is worth it!
4 – Add in your formulas so it will do the math for you or do it manually yourself. This will go into your “Total Price” column on the end.
– As you can see, I have a subtotal before taxes and I have the amount for taxes (groceries only). The formula figures out the taxes and then adds it all up. VOILA! Now I know exactly how much – to the penny – I’ll spend. It’s REALLY not hard and it does ALL the work for me!
PS: as you can see, I have extras on the side. Do not include those on your shopping list as they are NOT part of your grocery budget. They are part of your miscellaneous shopping budget!
SOMETHING TO NOTE:
You will probably have to go back and change your meal plan list once you’ve plugged in all your ingredients and prices! Change your meals, change what you buy but KEEP THAT BUDGET IN TACT! If you just can’t make it work, just go back to your budget and switch it up a bit. Just always always always keep that “leftover” amount at either $0.00 or in the positive.
…and I actually type my meal plan up once I know it’s within the budget. I hang it on my fridge and we stick to it!
Well, not much to say about this one. I simply add in any new items not on the list.
** Please note! It seems intense but unless you are just ALWAYS buying new things every week, it gets to the point where you’re hardly ever adding anything. It gets so very easy! **
AND THAT IS IT!
So to recap…
Make your tabs.
Make your Meal Plan Sheet, your prices and your shopping list.
Print your Meal Plan Sheet.
Clean your fridge.
Fill out your meal plan.
Fill out your Shopping list.
Check that it’s in your budget and…
I take my list with me and when I see a price has changed, I’ll just write the new price on the sheet to update later. You can use the receipt instead. Either works!
Well, I hope this has helped you all as much as it has helped me! I almost enjoy grocery shopping now (…almost.) Let me know if you have any questions and as always, feel free to share and comment!
Take care, lovelies!