Is Meal Planning Worth It?

Right now Brent and I have the goal of saving a lot of money and paying off a lot of debt. We noticed that are biggest money eater is well eating. Food. I get tired of cooking 3 meals a day and what is the next best choice? Ah yes, you guessed it – eating out. So I thought for the past few months that I would take a walk on the wild side, err, responsible side and actually attempt meal planning. The first week into was bad. Very bad. I was still making huge meals and still spending a ton in money. So Brent and I had a sit down. We had huge discussion on meals all of us could be happy with. Sure, we love steak and three course meals, but realistically is it smart? Is taking the time to write a month of meals really going to save me anything?

As with everything in life it’s give and take, I’ve said it before, I’ll preach it. Everything takes time and practice to get it all fine tuned. This is especially true with meal planning. Meal planning comes in hand most when it comes to grocery shopping and time saving. Not exactly budget saving. Pre-making a casserole a night before is cheap, yes, but it’s mainly best for a cramped schedule. I’m at home. I have the time to cook. So when you want to meal plan and you think it will save you money, well here are the tips for it.

  1. Talk with your family about the easy and cheap meals they are happy with. Chili dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese crisp etc. Write those as meals that can be eaten.

  2. With all the meals discussed, now create your shopping list. Try to come up with meal ideas of things you already have though. That’s where it does save.

  3. It’s not a schedule. It’s an IDEA. You can write these ideas down M-F we are having x, x, x. But if on Tuesday, tacos sound better than hot dogs. Well eat that instead. You have it since you shopped for it.

  4. ALWAYS plan a left over or fend for yourself day. It doesn’t matter if you are meal planning or not – cooking and dishes get old. Make a night that is peanut butter, chips and apples night. You and your kids won’t die. I promise. I’m proof.

  5. Make a separate list of what was liked and disliked. I know it sounds like a lot of work but really, it’s not. Circle the ones that are liked, cross out the dislikes. Whatever works. But that way you have an idea of what makes the family happy and what not to waste your time on. And if the kids LOVE the peanut butter and jelly, chips and apple night – do it more often. Believe you me, it’s the CHEAPEST meal out there.

Last but not least, use casseroles and pre-making for breakfast on weekends, off days. Those are the days you really don’t want to cook, you have to feed the kids something more than oatmeal and cereal.

Always, always use what is best for you and your family!


  1. What’s wrong with oatmeal? LOL