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The Insider Secrets to Creating a Meal Plan That Actually Works!

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Making a meal plan has become an invaluable tool to me in many ways. It saves me time, it saves me money, it saves me stress. In full disclosure, it took me some time to see the value. At first I just felt I was wasting too much time I didn’t have. But now, it has become a learned skill, and it has also changed along the way to become as efficient as I can possibly make it be in my home.

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It is so nice to only think about meals once a week. I also no longer have to answer the question of what’s for dinner since my family can just look, and I am not left having to scramble to throw something together in the midst of a crazy day.

Here are the steps I use when creating a meal plan.

Start with what’s already on hand

When I start with this step, I avoid food going bad or spending money unnecessarily since I can often make at least one meal a week using things I already have on hand.

Consult the sale fliers for my local stores

I did not do this for a long time as I just making my meal plans based on what I wanted to make. However, when I then shopped for what was on sale, ended up with things I bought from the store that needed to be used before they went bad, like fresh produce.This sent my menu plan out the window at times and made the meal plan I created for the week null and void.

To find the sales and best deals in your areayou can do an easy google search for something like “coupon sites for (insert the name of your city or region).” I’m sure you will be able to find a site that lists the stores you shop at in your area and lays out all the sales and best deals for the week.

Create your menu plan

After making your shopping list, you know what you will have on hand and then cab build your menu plan around these items first. This is how you will be shopping in the most frugal way possible.

For instance, if eggs are on sale this week, I would make sure that we have breakfast for dinner one night this week. If fresh beans were on sale (like they were for me this past week), I will plan on having these as a side item twice this week and just find two different ways to prepare them.

Continue building meal plan

Once you have plugged meals into your meal plan that use various sale items, you will be ready to continue. Fill in any needed meals that aren’t based off sale items. This is a great time to search for some new recipes. Be sure to add any necessary ingredients to your shopping list.

To me, making my meal plan and creating my shopping list go hand-in-hand.

Double check the spacing

Be sure that things like meat are spaced out more evenly throughout your week. My family appreciates having a more balanced meal plan in the overall scheme of the week. So does my budget!

Check your budget

Because I feed my family for $350 a month, this breaks down to about $7 a day to spend on meals. This $7 daily allowance for meals also leaves me room to pay for all the milk and added fresh produce that we eat at every meal. Again, I need an overall balanced day and week in order to not go over in my $350 a month.

Therefore, this needs to be checked in the meal planning phase to ensure that everything stays balanced.

Consult your calendar

Last but not least, check your weekly calendar. Make sure the meals you have planned to make each day will actually work to be made and eaten each day.

For instance, when we will be at a baseball game over the dinner hour, I will need to make sure that I have a portable dinner like hot dogs planned for that night.

If I am going to be done over the dinner hour, I will need to plan a simple meal that someone else can finish preparing and serve that day.

The truth is…

The best-planned meal plan will never work if you’re not paying attention to what your week looks like.

Looking for a more in-depth tool for meal planning? Check out Erin Odom’s meal planning course, What’s For Dinner Challenge Meal Planning eCourse. It’s part of the Ulitmate Homemaking Bundle. 

The entire bundle is only $29.97, and it includes this amazing meal planning course that takes you step-by-step through the process.

The bundle is only available through May 1st, 2017, so check out the bundle HERE right now! You’re almost out of time!

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