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How to Save Money When Shopping Your Meal Plan

Grocery shopping can sometimes feel overwhelming, both in terms of time and money. However, with a well-thought-out meal plan and some clever shopping strategies, you can easily save money while making sure your family enjoys delicious and nutritious meals. In this blog post, we’ll explore some effective tips on how to save money when shopping for your meal plan.

Set a Realistic Budget

First thing we have to do is think about the money. Establishing a grocery budget is crucial. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on groceries each week or month and stick to it as closely as possible. Having a budget in place helps you make more informed choices and resist the temptation to overspend on items that aren’t essential to your meal plan.

Plan Your Meals

The foundation of saving money on groceries starts with meal planning. Before heading to the store, sit down and plan your meals for the week or even the month. Take stock of what you already have in your pantry and fridge and create a shopping list based on what you need to complete your recipes. 

When planning, try to make meals that prioritize seasonal produce. Seasonal sales should also be taken into account like Labor Day. Around this time, stores will have sales on more meats and carbonated drinks because it’s considered a grilling holiday. And around Cinco De Mayo, more tortillas and salsa are on sale among other things.

Eating or repurposing your leftovers will also help save you money. Planning ahead helps you avoid food waste.

Create a Shopping List

 Organize your list by categories like meats, produce, dairy, frozen. This way you can get your items faster and stop you from browsing. Browsing leads to impulse purchasing which is a bad thing if you want to save money. 

Use Digital Tools

You can also use digital tools. Almost every grocery store has an app and a loyalty program. Apps like ibotta and receipt hog offer cash back for purchasing items. Use these to look for extra discounts on top of sale prices. You can even add your grocery list into the store’s app and it will guide you to the right aisle in that particular store. 

Save Money on Meal Plan

Shop Local Produce

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher but also more affordable. Local produce is often cheaper as well because it doesn’t have to travel long distances to reach your store/market. Plan your meals around what’s in season and consider visiting farmers’ markets or joining a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program for even more savings.

Avoid Shopping When Hungry

Shopping on an empty stomach can lead to impulsive and unhealthy purchases. Eat a meal or snack before heading to the store to reduce the likelihood of grabbing items you don’t need.

Limit Convenience and Processed Foods

Convenience foods like pre-packaged meals and snacks often come with a higher price tag. Opt for whole ingredients and cook from scratch whenever possible. Not only is this typically more budget-friendly, but it’s also healthier.

A few strategies for saving money when shopping your meal plan

  •   Buy in bulk if the item is cheaper per oz/lb.
  •   Compare prices and brands to find the best deals. Try not to be brand loyal.
  •   Opt for store brands and generic products when it makes sense. 
  •   Remember, sometimes store brands aren’t cheapest.
  •   Shop at discount and warehouse stores if nearby.

I know it can be a little much to think of all these things when meal planning and shopping but, once you learn and start implementing these strategies, you will begin to save money. 

In conclusion, saving money when shopping your meal plan requires a combination of planning, budgeting, and smart choices at the store. By following these tips and sticking to your meal plan, you can enjoy tasty, cost-effective meals while also managing your grocery budget effectively. Maybe try one strategy at a time. Just get started.

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