First, I have to say that I was SO honored to speak at the eCo Savings Seminar tonight! I got to speak on Meal Planning 101 and I’m excited to welcome these seminar attendees to my site. Please make sure you follow me on Facebook here to keep up with all the latest happenings, recipes, healthy eating tips, and more!
If you weren’t at the seminar, never fear! I’m giving you the whole presentation in a few posts over the next few days! See below for the basics.
First of all, is this how you feel?
Alright….then let’s talk MEAL PLANNING 101!
What Is Meal Planning 101?
Meal planning is something you do to help you save time, money, and effort in the best way that fits you and your family when it comes to what you eat. There is no right or wrong way to meal plan. The trick is finding what works best for you and your family. Meal planning can mean a weekly meal plan, a monthly meal plan, a plan that involves your slow cooker, freezer cooking, batch cooking, or going as detailed as writing out your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, you best find you can simplify the process of what to eat each week before you go to the grocery store is how you will enjoy it the most. It is meant to be a simplification tool, instead of a headache.
Why Should You Meal Plan?
One of the biggest reasons people meal plan is to free up time, money, and resources. Your grocery budget is the one thing you can control, believe it or not, to help you work towards growing your wealth and minimizing any debts. You can either wait for your boss to give you a raise or you can free up your budget for extras by saving at the store.
According to most financial experts, families with an income range of $50,000 to $90,000 per year should spend approximately 11 to 14 percent of their income on groceries after taxes and tithe or charity giving. For example, a family of 4 to 6 with an income of $75,000 per year, should have a modest grocery budget of approximately $800.00 per month! That may seem shocking to some of you, but it is possible. At eMeals, our classic meals average less than $2.50 per person per meal which is less than half of the average fast food meal cost!
I challenge you to go on an Eating Out Fast for a month. Track how much you save by cutting out eating out and you will be amazed at how much you can save. Now think about if you even just cut the number of times you ate out in a month in half, that amount of money adds up and can be used to invest in your financial freedom.
Who Should Meal Plan?
EVERYONE and anyone! Unless that is, you have plenty of extra money and time on your hands in which case, you are good! Ha! But seriously, meal planning can be fun. Some people like pouring over pages in cookbooks, others like perusing through Pinterest or their favorite blogs. Find something you enjoy to make the experience as painless as possible. If you don’t enjoy any of those things, pay service as little as $5 per month to do it for you!
What Should I Use To Meal Plan?
This varies from person to person. Find the recipe that works for you. Some people find that theme nights help them get organized. For example, Monday is soup night, Tuesday is Mexican night, Wednesday is Slow Cooker night, Thursday is Pasta Night, and so on…
Make a list. Keep a list whether it be on a notepad on your fridge, starred in an app, or on a Pinterest board of your tried and true favorite meals that you can put in regular rotation.
I am obviously biased but eMeals.com is the market leader in meal planning. eMeals has been in business for 10 years now and has many, many customers because it simply works. In fact, when I was a newlywed, eMeals taught ME how to meal plan. (Read all about eMeals and me working for them here.)
eMeals was started by sisters, Jane DeLaney and Jenny Cochran, out of the necessity of figuring out what to put on the dinner table each night. Their vision for a simple tool to take out the pain point of what to make for dinner each night has grown from a company with a couple of options to over 50 meal plans, partners such as Dave Ramsey, and millions of meals served to people across the US and Canada.
eMeals gives you a weekly meal plan that can be tailored around your favorite store or your eating style. There are plans that range from classic home-style meals to clean eating, to paleo to gluten-free. Our classic meals are very kid-friendly, usually have 7 ingredients or less, and take 30 minutes or less to prepare! We literally simplify the whole process for you.
Our classic meals average less than $2.50 per person per meal which is less than half of the average fast food meal cost! The average eMeals user tells us they save $1,000 per year on groceries and countless hours each week. Now, if that’s not enough to get you excited about meal planning I don’t know what is!
When Should I Meal Plan?
This truly depends on your lifestyle and when grocery shopping fits into your schedule. A lot of people tell us it fits them best to meal plan on Sunday or Monday…at the beginning of the week. If you use eMeals, you can pull up our companion app, look at your week and decide when to make the “quick meal” or “slow cooker” meal based on when you need that, skip meals you don’t want to make or add in family favorites to your shopping list. The most important thing is consistency. Try to make a plan each week to sit down and do the meal plan to set yourself up for success.
Where Should I Keep My Meal Plan?
Again, this is up to you. A good idea is to keep it in a place where your family can see it and add to the grocery list on the fridge. You could also do it on a calendar or dry erase board if that makes sense for you. Keep in mind that sometimes just the naming of your meals can make it more fun for your whole family and entice your kids to want to eat it. For instance, instead of salmon and potatoes….maybe write out on your menu board Funky Fun Fish & Creamy Mashed Potatoes.