There are three steps to a successfuland frugal meal planning-1. selecting recipes 2.grocery shopping and 3.prepping and making the meal. Each of these can be broken down into a number of strategies for success in each step. These strategies are keys to making each meal planning into a money-saving, stress reducing and fulfilling endeavor.
Here are some ways to a successful grocery shopping that will save your money and time-
1. Select your recipes for 1-2 Weeks-
Select recipes that works for your family is a key step to save money. Stick to healthy family favorites but feel free to add 1-2 recipes that you want to try. Be conservatively adventurous so you can avoid wasting food and have the pleasure to try out something new. You can always make another version of a certain recipe. For example, you can make fried chicken in so many ways, adding a new tune to an old song.
2. Take an inventory of what’s on hand in the pantry-
A well stocked pantry saves you valuable time and energy, specially on days when you don’t have either to shop. Before finalizing the shopping list and heading to the store, double-check you recipe’s ingredient lists with what’s already in the pantry.
3. Install store apps on your phone-
You can install apps on your phone for most of the grocery stores where you shop regularly. Check out the weekly grocery deals on your app to see what pantry items are on sale. I have Whole Foods and Safeway apps on my phone and they almost always have deals and coupon that I find useful to save money and time before even stepping into the store. However, do not add items just becasue they are on sale or you can’t think about a use for them in a recipe.
4. Scout the fridge and freezer for food that needs to be used up-
I am averse to food wasting. I believe that there is Allah’s blessing even in the tiniest amount of food and no amount is negligible when it comes to food wasting. We eat left overs religiously and avoid wasting food at all costs.
You can do the same by scouring your fridge and freezer for food that needs to be used up. You can find ways to use up the lonely lemon, handful of spinach and soup bones in your next meal plan. You can freeze left overs, over ripe fruits, lingering vegetable. This effort prevents food waste, eliminates buying double and saves money.
5. Make a shopping list-
Making a shopping list cuts your time in half or more for grocery shopping. A shopping list is imperative to prevent impulsive shopping, saving time and money. I keep an ongoing list on my fridge and add items as needed for all the stores that I frequent regularly. You can add multiple store names and add the items that you need from each store.
6.Eat before going to the grocery store-
Grabbing a bite before any shopping trip is a huge money and sanity saver. This applies to yourself and the little ones that may accompany you on your trip. Eating before leaving will keep your happier and you are less likely to buy something on the impulse. Take your time to nourish yourself and your family before heading out.
7. Pack reusable grocery bags-
Pack your reusable grocery bags, freezer bags and containers for a successful trip at the grocery store. This is important to avoid wasteful use of plastic and paper bags. You can put them near your doorway or in your car so you can remember to take them on your trip. I always keep a few reusable bags handy in my car along with my cooler to keep cold foods cold.
I hope you have successful grocery trips using the tips above. Don’t forget to say Bismillah before leaving :).