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Meal plan and save money
By Tammy May

There’s a misconception that living on a budget means eating two-minute noodles every night. The reality is that most people experience an improvement in their eating habits when they start watching how they spend their money. I’ve lost count of how many clients have told me that they’ve never eaten better since joining MyBudget.

Food costs often demand the lion’s share of living expenses, which means that grocery shopping can make or break a budget. Careful meal planning can result in savings of hundreds of dollars a year, maybe more.

What is meal planning and how does it save money?

In a nutshell, meal planning involves deciding in advance which meals you will prepare for the week and which ingredients you will shop for.

The financial advantages of meal planning include saving money by planning your meals around supermarket catalogue specials and seasonal items, going to the shops less often, no more food wastage from ingredients going stale or bad, and eating out less frequently.

The non-financial benefits of meal planning include enjoying a more varied and nutritional diet, eating less pre-prepared and take-away meals, and planning your meals around your work, social and family commitments. It’s also great to watch your kids eat their dinner without complaint because they were involved in the meal planning process!

Meal planning tips to save money:

  • Start by scanning supermarket catalogues (paper or online) for specials and discounts. Draft a rough menu plan based on discounted items or ingredients that inspire you. Don’t forget to include side dishes, salads and foods for packed lunches.
  • Check the pantry and fridge for unused ingredients from last week’s shopping. Write out your shopping list based on the ingredients you need for the recipes in your week’s meal plan. (Consider keeping your favourite quick-and-easy recipes or meal ideas in a special folder.)
  • Shop with an open mind and be ready to make a substitute if you find a great special.
  • Once you’ve returned from shopping you’ll have a firmer idea of what will be in your meal plan. Match up the meals with your schedule — save the roast for a lazy Sunday afternoon and the frozen lasagne for sports practice night.
  • Pin your meal plan on the fridge door so that you can refer to it during the week.

Free meal and shopping planner from MyBudget

To make meal planning and grocery shopping even easier, we've created a free MyBudget Weekly Meal & Shopping Planner that you can download from the Members Website. Just another way we aim to help and save you money.

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