Cheap Meal Planning 102: The Shopping

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Cheap-meal-planning-part-2Thanks for stopping by! This is part two of my CHEAP meal planning tips, if you missed part one, make sure to start there – don’t miss my favorite (cheap) standby recipes! Okay, now that we’re all caught up, on with part two!

1. Shop at inexpensive stores and/or shop the sales. I know a lot of people are REALLY good about planning around ads but that’s just not my kind of life. And no WAY I will coupon. My husband and I are usually in the mood for certain foods so I’m really better off shopping at an inexpensive store. Enter: Aldi. Y’all, Aldi is seriously a dream come true. Everything is so inexpensive, it’s not too huge and it’s never crowded. If you don’t have an Aldi nearby, Wal Mart is probably the next best option, I just try not to shop there because I disagree with a lot of their company practices.

Here are some of the staples I buy regularly at Aldi and some of their approximate prices. Of course the prices are subject to change and might be different at your local store but this will hopefully give you an idea of what to expect:

  • Frozen chicken
  • Frozen veggies (corn, spinach, peas, carrots, etc)
  • Frozen turkey ($1.99 a pound!)
  • Frozen ground beef
  • Fresh produce (only if I’m going to use it quickly, it tends to go bad fast unfortunately)
  • Spices and baking needs (sugar, flour, etc)
  • Milk ($2.19 a gallon usually)
  • Eggs ($1.99/dozen)
  • Occasional name brand cereals, sodas, etc when they have them

4. Have a budget and don’t go over it – I like to have a budget before I hit the store. If I’ve gone within the last week or two, I can usually get by without spending more than $50 but if it’s been a while, it might be more. Use your phone to keep a total of how much you’ve spent and when you hit your threshold stop. Put things back if you need to!

5.  Don’t but a lot of junk foods/snacks – My husband and I are HUGE snackers so I have to really be careful with what we buy because they get expensive so fast. One bag of chips is going to run you $3-4…that’s more than a pound of ground turkey! Buy 1-2 snacks for each person and that’s it. It’ll also keep you from snacking all day. 🙂

6. Don’t buy beef (often) – This one is a huge bummer for a lot of people but beef is EXPENSIVE. Even the super cheap cuts will run up your grocery bill super fast. Ground beef isn’t so bad but you can almost always substitute turkey which is lower calorie, lower cholesterol and about half the price. I treat beef dinners like a treat. Sounds lame but it’s true. And when you do make something with beef, try to make it stretch by serving plenty of sides so you have leftovers.

7. Make the meals with perishable items first – If you buy fresh produce, make those meals first! Frozen meats and veggies, potatoes, and pasta are going to last you into the next week if you need them so use up the perishables first.

8. Don’t waste your leftovers! – Another one that kind of goes without saying but I’ve been guilty of throwing out leftovers. Sometimes you can only eat something so many times before you get sick of it. After 3 or so days, if you still have a ton left, freeze it! Most meals can be frozen and thawed for later, not only does it keep you from wasting food and money, it means free and effortless meals later!

ONE MORE thing! I went ahead and made this cute little Meal Planning guide for you! There’s a space for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. I like to fill it out weekly BUT I’m flexible, if I switch things around because maybe I don’t feel like Mexican food one day…no biggie! It’s just nice to have everything planned so you know you’re covered when you head to the grocery store.

CLICK HERE for a printable version!


Ooooookay I think that’s everything! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below! Also if you liked this post, I would LOVE it if you shared it on social media or Pinned it so other people can enjoy it too!


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