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Meal Planning on a Budget

Updated on March 18, 2013

Save Money with Meal Planning

In today's economy it's more important than ever to watch your spending. Food prices have been on the rise lately, and the grocery bill is one of our biggest spending categories, so saving money on groceries is a top priority for my family right now.

Meal planning is a great way to cut your grocery bill because you only buy the foods you need and you go to the store less frequently, so no more impulse buying. Meal planning also helps you save time, eat healthier and spend more time with your family.

In this lens, you'll learn what meal planning is, the benefits of meal planning, and how meal planning can save you time and money.

I hope you enjoy 'Meal Planning on a Budget'. Help me make this lens better by sharing your own tips on meal planning and saving money on groceries in the guestbook area.

Free Sample Menu and Shopping List

Want to try meal planning, but afraid it will take too much time? Or not sure how to get started creating your first meal plan?

Well, you're in luck, because the folks at Dine Without Whine have created a weeks worth of meals and a shopping list for you... And they're free!

I'm not sure how long these will be available, so grab your free sample menu and shopping list now.

Big Sale on Lifetime Menu Planning Memberships!

menu planning central
menu planning central

Have you been wanting to try the Menu Planning Central? Well now's your chance to get a LIFETIME membership for only $25!

For today only, you can get a lifetime membership for only $25. But it's a flash sale, so you'll need to hurry!

The first 10 who order will pay $25, the next 10 will pay $30, the next 10 $35, etc until the price reaches $50. This sale lasts until Midnight and then it's over.

To get the sale price just enter coupon code FLASH.

Good luck!

Meal Planning Helps You Save Money

One of the greatest benefits of meal planning is that it saves you money on your grocery bill. It does this in a couple of ways:

1. You only buy the food you need for the following week.

2. When you're preparing your menu for the week, it allows you to use foods you already have on hand, so that you don't let any food go to waste.

3. When planning your meals for the week, you generally look for food that is on sale.

In addition to saving you money, meal planning is also a huge time saver, and it helps you eat healthier.

Money Saving Tip:

The cost of meat has been rising rapidly the last year, so one of the quickest ways to save money on your groceries is to cut back on the meat used in your recipes.

For example, if a recipe calls for a pound of ground beef, try cutting back to 3/4 or even 1/2 a pound. Freeze the rest for another recipe.

This will not only help you save money, but your meals will be healthier too!

How To Get The Most Out of Meal Planning On A Budget

You've seen how meal planning can save you money... here are a few tips to cut your grocery bill even more if you're on a tight budget:

1. Review the grocery sale ads. Plan your menu for the week on items that are on sale. For example if chicken is on sale, you can have roasted chicken one night, then use the leftovers for enchiladas or a casserole on another night.

2. Cook in bulk and freeze the extra portions. This is a great way to stretch your grocery budget. It also really helps out later on when you have a busy week and don't have time to cook.

3. Use lots of cheap ingredients like beans, pasta and rice. Learn how to use your crock pot!

4. Use less meat in your recipes. Try to stretch a pound of meat out into two recipes instead of one. Substitute meat with less expensive ingredients like beans.

5. Take your lunch. Cook your lunches and take them to work instead of eating out.

6. Buy in bulk from wholesale stores like Sams Club, Aldi's or Costco. Stock up on non-perishable items when they are on sale.

7. Use coupons. Check with your store to see if they double coupons on any certain day of the week. Combine coupons with store specials for even greater savings.

save money on groceries
save money on groceries

Slash Your Grocery Bill

Are you looking for a great way to save money on your groceries? A Menu Planning Service can come to the rescue. These ingenious services help you plan, save on grocery costs and manage your dinner meals simply and easily.

Menu Planning services provide moms with a simple to follow dinner menu for each week. Not only do you get awesome dinner meal ideas including main dishes, side dishes and desserts that are satisfying, simple to prepare and healthy, but you also get a personalized grocery list to simply shop for the ingredients for the upcoming week. You can save loads of money, because when you know which meals you will be preparing and which ingredients you will need you won't wastefully purchase ingredients and items that are not required.

Many people spend hundreds of dollars each year buying food ingredients that they don't need. In many cases foods are wasted, because they sit around not being used in any meals you prepare. Once you find a meal idea for these ingredients, they are usually too old, spoiled or stale.

By utilizing a menu planning service you will also save on fast food and casual dining restaurant bills. Many families become frustrated when there is no food in their refrigerator. Instead of preparing a healthy and low cost meal at home, they opt for the ease of visiting fast food and casual dining restaurants that can easily cost $20, $50, $100 or more. If you are looking for a reason to keep you at home rather than at high priced restaurants, a meal planning service is an affordable and practical solution.

Another way you can reap the rewards from menu planning is with all the time you will save. Now that everything is planned out for you, you won't have to spend time each day running back and forth to the grocery store to buy needed food items, you can have your whole week's meals planned out and have a comfortable and relaxing time at home with your family.

If you are looking for an awesome way to save on your grocery bills, check out a menu planning service.


Dine Without Whine is a great menu planning service for active families. Visit Dine Without Whine to discover even more rewards to menu planning.

Menu Planning on YouTube

Smart Grocery Shopping Strategies

Grocery shopping is a chore most of us dread. It can be especially frustrating once you get home and realize you forgot to get an item or you neglected to give the clerk your coupon for that great buy one get one for free deal. You organize every other aspect of your life, so focus that organizational discipline towards your grocery shopping efforts as well.

Start by planning your shopping trips. In order to make a list of what you'll need for meals that week, you'll also need to get into the habit of planning your meals out each week. Choose a day of the week to do your shopping and stick to it. If you do your grocery shopping on Wednesdays when the ads break, be sure your menu planning is completed on Tuesday. Once you've completed your menu, you can construct your shopping list.

It's also important to take a current inventory of your pantry and cupboards, and add any staples that are running low. It's easy to forget that you used the last can of mushroom soup in that new recipe you tried, so make sure you have a couple of other cans on hand when you make it again.

Keep a shopping list posted to your bulletin board or refrigerator, and be sure each family member knows where it is located. That way they can easily add an item to the list that is almost gone or request a favorite item on the next trip.

There are printable grocery shopping lists on the internet, but you might want to consider devising one of your own and saving it on your computer so it can easily be printed each week. Leave room on your list to flag yourself about which items are listed for sale and which ones you have coupons for. Make sure your coupons are organized and in order and that you have a copy of the current ad in case there are any discrepancies once you get there. Come armed with calculator in hand to avoid suffering from sticker shock at the checkout register.

You can save hundreds each year on your groceries just by meal planning! For a step by step guide, check out Meal Planning for Busy Moms by!

Looking for more great resources on meal planning? - Check out the recommendations below or use the search box to find your own!


EbizTaxTips (Kristine McKinley) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, or

Reader Feedback

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    • profile image

      tomoxby 4 years ago

      This will not be available to everyone. One way I save on meal costs is going to factory outlet stores for food makers. For one bakery was recently selling bread for 25 cents a loaf. The only issue is available of products and prices vary a lot.

    • frugalfinance lm profile image

      frugalfinance lm 4 years ago

      Great lens, will be sure to include some of these tips next time I budget!

    • profile image

      spot-ify-73997 5 years ago

      Very solid advice! Well done.

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 5 years ago from Kansa, USA

      Great lens. I'm copying down some of these tips to use next time I go shopping.

    • profile image

      williammdavis 5 years ago

      Spend time but plan budget in a good way.

    • profile image

      webmastery 5 years ago

      Your meal planning lens is easy to read and nicely formatted. Like!

    • diaperbagdiva lm profile image

      diaperbagdiva lm 5 years ago

      Great lens! Nice work on organizing a menu plan on a budget. I do this a lot with my big family and it saves both time and money.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      Enjoyable lens. Great information

    • gleken profile image

      gleken 6 years ago

      very good lens on how to plan a meal on a budget thanks for the information

    • profile image

      rodwsanders 6 years ago

      I enjoyed reading your lens. The information is timely and relevant. Thank you for sharing this great information.

    • profile image

      marsha32 6 years ago

      this is another great lens

    • purplelady profile image

      purplelady 6 years ago

      Working on getting some links and creating a new lens on family meals and would like to feature this lens. You have such a great resource list of how to have healthy and frugal family meal tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A great lens! Lots of genuine tips and hints to help families deal with the gorcery bill and they're healthy.

    • TrishH LM profile image

      TrishH LM 7 years ago

      Nice collection of meal planning tools. =-)

    • profile image

      puddlescollection 8 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • profile image

      FitSteph 8 years ago

      Wow what a great lens. And if anyone is looking for some healthy meal plans This is one of my favorite health & fitness sites. It lets you track food, workouts, and calories!

    • profile image

      Celticozarkian 8 years ago

      Fun lens! We all need to help our food budgets in this day and age! Thanks for the tips

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 8 years ago

      Shoppers will be looking for tips like this. Welcome to Culinary Favorites From A to Z (and to Squidoo!)

    • profile image

      andysmithseo 8 years ago

      some great ideas and tips, thanks