I have been trying to carve out time at least once a week to work on meal planning for the upcoming week or more. Some days are so busy (as I am sure most of you can understand), and I don’t know if I am coming or going! With working from home on my blogs, you would think I could keep up with planning meals. But, there have been occasions when my guys have asked what we are having for dinner and all I can come up with is opening up cans of soup and making grilled cheese sandwiches. Mind you, this is one of our go-to meals that we all enjoy, but I always feel like I should have been better prepared.
So, as I have been working on this, I have thought of five tips and ideas that are helpful with the meal planning process for my family, so that I am not put on the spot and stressed!
Check out my meal planning tips below
1. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo aka Alexa is my one source for storing my grocery list. This was a past Christmas gift from my husband, and it has been such a huge help! That little lady keeps good track of what I need to pick up from the grocery store on my next trip. It really helps keep my shopping list in one location and is easily accessible from my phone when I am at the store. Miss Alexa stays by me in the kitchen, so that when I think of something to add, she is listening! So great! I wonder if she hears me when I tell her “thank you!” 🙂
2. Coupons and Deals
For the stores that I shop at, most of the sale ads hit and begin on Sunday. The only one that doesn’t for me is Publix, which the sales begin in the middle of the week. So, I usually check out Walmart, Target, Walgreens and BJ’s via the krazycouponlady.com on Sundays. And, also Publix, even though the deals are already a few days in. That site is great for finding out what is on sale, where to get coupons for an item and which apps (check out my article I wrote about using Ibotta, Mobli, etc. here) to use to get more money back. But, I usually don’t stop there. I have found that it is necessary to also search coupons.com and the actual sale ads myself just in case a good deal was not mentioned on the krazycouponlady.com site or I am need a certain item that was not talked about.
3. Keeping track of items
I like taking a peek inside my cupboards, freezer and refrigerator often to see what we are getting low on. Also, making sure we have all of the items needed for the meals planned for the week. If not, I will let Alexa know. I should mention that it is also essential for me to be sure that we are not running low on items not stored in my kitchen like laundry detergent, toilet paper, etc.
4. Excel spreadsheet
So, now knowing what is on sale, and going by what I already have, I have started spreadsheeting out my weekly meals. Above is an example of the simple form that I created. This way I can keep track of what we are having and when. And, it is kind of nice to go back and see what we have eaten in the past and what I haven’t made recently. This helps get me out of my rut of making the same things all of the time. Of course, pizza is a usual around here at least once a week! YUMMY! 🙂
With all of my information gathered, I am trying to get in the habit of grocery shopping right after lunch, and scheduling it during the week. I feel like the stores are less crowded, and that it easier and nicer for me. This is absolutely one of the many perks of working from home and not being on a rigid schedule!
Hope that this information has helped you in some way. It seems so simple, but when I am really busy, it is easy to fall off track and be out of milk and bread at any given time! Hehehe! That’s life! 🙂