FREE Printable Meal Plan & Shopping List

by on December 4, 2011 in Meal Planning & Recipes

I am very excited to share this printable resource with you!

It’s the first in a series of tools I’ve designed to help you on your journey to spend less and save more!

Using coupons when you shop for your groceries is an immediate way to save money, but taking the time to plan your meals (and develop a shopping list based on that meal plan) is how you can make an even bigger impact on your budget!

This tool is simple to use, and FREE for you to download!

Click here to get your FREE copy of my Meal Plan & Shopping List.

This one-page document combines a weekly menu planner with two side-by-side shopping lists.

There are two ways to use this tool:

  1. As indicated in the instructions, you plan your meals for the week on the left side of the page, and create a corresponding set of shopping lists on the right side. When you’ve completed your meal plan and your lists are done, you cut the page in half, posting the meal plan and taking the shopping lists with you!
  2. I use the tool in a slightly different way: I fill out my weekly meal plan on the left side of the page and post the whole sheet on my refrigerator…with empty shopping lists. As the week goes on, I add items to the shopping lists as I discover that I need them. When the week ends, I cut off the old meal plan and I have my shopping lists left. I then get out a new, blank sheet and make a meal plan for the upcoming week, adding items that I need to the lists I started during the week before. I post the new sheet and the cycle starts over! The first week you do this you need to make a separate shopping list for that week’s meals, but then each week after that you have a shopping list that you started building during the week before.

If you’re anything like me, you shop at more than one store each week. I created space for you to have different shopping lists for different stores, but if you do only shop at one place, you can simply use the two columns as one big list.

I did not create specific places in the meal plan area for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I personally only plan our dinners, but when I was on maternity leave I did plan all three meals for each day. Leaving the days of the week blank allows you to use the meal plan to plan as many, or as few, meals as you want each day!

Planning meals might seem difficult at first, especially if you’ve never done it.

Here are some tips that should help you get started:

  • Brainstorm your Go-To Recipes. Knowing the meals that you cook well and your family enjoys is key to having a successful plan. Once you have a good list, you can use it each week to plan what you’ll be eating. As you try new recipes or discover things you and your family enjoy, add it to your Go-To Recipes list!
  • Involve your family. If you have kids, let them pick one or two meals a week. Invite your spouse to suggest meals, or pick them off of your Go-To Recipe list. When they feel involved, they might be more receptive to what you’re planning to serve them.
  • Plan for leftovers. If your family eats leftovers, then be sure to work that into your meal plan! Leftovers are a great way to save money AND time.
  • Plan for the unknown. Sometimes our schedule changes mid-week, and I try to plan my meals so that I can switch them around to different days if I need to.

There are benefits to planning your meals and creating a shopping list based on your plan:

  • You only have to think about what’s for dinner one night a week instead of every night!
  • It reduces the urge to go out or order in when you already have a plan and all the ingredients.
  • Cooking at home saves an incredible amount of money. If your family regularly ate out before, there might be an adjustment period as they grow accustomed to eating at home. Try showing them how much you’re saving, and their enthusiasm might grow!
  • The food you prepare at home is better for your family. Assuming you aren’t serving packaged and pre-cooked foods at every meal, you can be sure that you’re feeding your family better than if you were eating out all the time.
  • You spend less at the store. By creating a shopping list that is based on what you need to feed your family for the week, you avoid buying things you don’t need. You should always use a list when you shop, and preparing one according to your meals is a great way to help focus the list.

I hope you will find these tips and my Meal Plan & Shopping List tool to be helpful on your journey to spend less and save more.

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