Planning Meals to Save on Grocery Costs
Gasoline prices are dropping, and that is great news, but has anyone noticed that grocery prices are unusually high?
Perhaps it is my growing family of 7, but I think there is more to it. Just do a search for high grocery prices and you’ll see lots of articles that agree, food prices are on the rise.
So what is a family to do?
We have tried a few things with varying levels of success. One of the best things I think you can do to save money on food is to plan your meals.
When we are going over budget on groceries I hate to see food go to waste by going bad. By meticulously planning meals and only purchasing food for those meals you can cut down on the waste.
I have subscribed to eMeals. For about $5 per month they plan out a weeks worth of meals, then give you a grocery list to take to the store of your choice.
There are lots of different meal plans to choose from. Currently the options are:
- 30 Minute Meals
- Budget Friendly
- Clean Eating
- Gluten Free
- Kid Friendly
- Low Calorie
- Low Carb
- Low Fat
- Portion Control
- Simple Gormet
- Slow Cooker Classic
- Slow Cooker Clean Eating
eMeals has it’s pros & cons and we have had varied success with it.
- Time saver. Someone else plans all your meals for you and figures out your grocery list.
- You get a nice variety of meals.
- You get to try new recipes.
- The often will plan meals around sale items so you can get the most bang for your buck.
- You can switch your meal plan any time. If you don’t like what on the menu this week, you can try another meal plan.
- If there are one or two recipes you do not want to eat, it is not easy to pull them out of the line-up as the grocery list is all combined. This would be my biggest complaint.
- My wife comes from a family of great Italian cooks. I guess you could say we have developed a bit of an expensive taste. Some of the recipes are not up to par. But overall, they are pretty good.
- Too much meat for me. I like meat, but I don’t need it for every meal, but I don’t want to go totally vegetarian because I just don’t want to try some of those vegetarian meals. If it were up to me, I would have meat in one or two meals at the most. Meat is also expensive and so it raises the grocery bill.
- It is only dinner plans. You are still on your own to come up with breakfast and lunch. They do have a lunch menu, but it costs extra.
- There is a meal for every night so it won’t account for any leftovers you might have or things you need to use before they go bad.
All in all I would say that if you like the convenience of having the planning of recipes and grocery lists done for you then it is a great deal. On the other hand, if you prefer to do your own thing, you may find yourself not using it.
Another problem with meal plans in general is that you have to stick to the plan. There are just some nights when you don’t feel like making what is on the plan. These are nights the family generally resorts to cold cereal (which, I could eat cereal for every meal. I love it!) Unfortunately this will also lead to wasted food.
So, do you plan your meals? How well does it work for you? Any other tips you can share for cutting back on grocery expenses?