If there’s one kind of planning that I’m learning to swear by, it’s meal planning. Often enough, meal planning in our house is the difference between eating a healthy meal or grabbing McDonald’s on the way home. For me, meal planning has double perks: not only do Justin & I eat better, but I can’t count how much money we’ve saved on fast food and grocery trips since I’ve begun planning our meals (probably even more than I spent on my Kate Spade planner and purse!)
Meal planning has seriously been a godsend since I’ve started– when I can find the discipline to actually stick to it, that is. It’s not always easy, and I still have occasional nights of “I don’t even care right now, just give me chick fil a before I cry”– but overall, things are steadily improving.
I’ve developed a routine for my weekly meal planning, which I usually try to do on Saturday afternoons:
- Go through our refrigerator and cabinets to see what I can make meals out of already; minimize ingredient shopping as much as possible.
- Fill out the weekly meal plan printable in my planner (I use this free printable by HomemadeKraft, which is insanely pretty and also comes with matching grid paper!)
- Make a list of anything that I’ll need to pick up at the grocery, then check grocery flyers for sales and also set aside any coupons to use.
- Make daily notes in my planner of any prep I’ll need to do for each meal, like if I’ll need to thaw chicken or if I need to have a meal in the slow cooker while I’m at work during the day. I try to keep our meals simple, so there’s not generally a lot of prep work to be done.
There are so many cute meal planner printables, and I know that for me, using a printable that I especially love makes it easier to stick with planning. There are also inserts and notepads available from shops like kikki.K and PaperSource. Here are a few of my favorites to make meal planning simple:
- Weekly Meal Planner // Day Designer (free)
- Meal Planner & Grocery List // Printable Pineapple ($3.90, Etsy)
- Weekly Meal Plan & Shopping List // Strawberry Scraps ($3.78, Etsy)
- Dinner Planner Pad // kikki.K ($14.95)
- Let’s Eat Note Pad // PaperSource ($19.95)
Over the weekend, I also stepped up my coupon game and made a DIY coupon organizer. I had accumulated a mountain of coupons (mostly donated by my mom and grandma, who always keep me well stocked in grocery coupons– which I love!)
Honestly though, it was a little scary.
It took me the better part of two hours to finish clipping them, and then I was left with a monstrous pile of coupons and not enough space in my tiny five-pocket coupon organizer to fit them all. I actually owe the creation of my new coupon organizer mostly to Justin– he laughed and said, “we practically need a box for all of those..” and then a DIY idea was born.
I had a small photo box (about 7″ x 5″) and I created dividers for each section using scrapbook paper and my Tab punch.
Now my coupons are meticulously organized by grocery section (frozen, produce, dairy, cleaning supplies, kitchen, laundry, etc.) and I’m extremely pleased. My first two divider tabs are “Current Week” reserved for coupons that I’ll be using for meals in the upcoming week, and “Expiring Soon” to bookmark coupons that I know I’ll need to use soon before they expire. Now when I go to the grocery, I can take the coupons from my first section and put them into a plastic zipper pocket in my Kate Spade Wallet planner for easy access while I’m at the store.
My planning life is starting to come together, and meal planning has been helpful in so many ways, even in the short few weeks I’ve been trying it. If you’re like me and tend to gravitate toward making macaroni and cheese for dinner over and over again, or just saying ugh, forget it and ordering pizza, I would absolutely recommend looking into a good meal planner. ❤️
Do you use a weekly meal planner? Do you feel like it’s made a difference in your life? Leave a comment or talk to me on twitter (@merricataddams) and share a link to your favorite meal planning printable or insert!
P.S. Don’t forget to follow my blog on bloglovin’ (and also share a link to your blog in the comments!) ❤️