A weekly Meal Plan Template can make such a big difference when you are feeling overwhelmed by the simple task of getting dinner on the table.
You can download my weekly meal plan template right here, but I suggest that you also read through the tips for how to save money when you meal plan in order to be the most successful.
If you are a mom with kids running around the house, or even just a dog running around the house, then you know getting dinner on the table is anything but an easy task.
It’s easy just to pop a frozen pizza in the oven, or hit the drive-thru when everyone is screaming they’re hungry, and nothing is in the oven yet.
However, with a little planning, you’ll be making your meals at home without all the hassle!
Here is how to build the ultimate weekly meal plan template so you’ll start to save money on your weekly meals.
Set Your Spending
The first thing you need to do when creating your weekly meal plan template is to decide your spending. How much money are you going to spend on groceries for the week? Depending on the recipes you choose, your groceries could bust your budget.
If you do your grocery shopping weekly, divide your grocery budget up by week so you can see how much you have to work with.
If you are unsure what number to use, start by looking at your previous month of grocery spending and use this as a guideline.
Evaluate Your Eating Out Habits
It might sound silly to look at your eating out habits when the goal is to keep you home each night. But completing these meal planning templates can be the key to keeping you from eating out!
Think about when you eat out. Do you usually order pizza every week? Or Chinese food on Fridays? This will give you some insight on the foods your family “splurges” for so you can better prepare your meal plan to include them.
If you order pizza regularly, plan a pizza night and make homemade pizza instead. We’ve made easy pizza’s using English muffins and tortillas as a fun alternative to the usual pizza dough. Planning ahead will help resist the urge to order pizza and give your family something to look forward to.
Look At Your Stockpile
The first place to start when planning your meals is your stockpile!
When I’m making my meal plan, I aim to make at least 2-3 meals from just the items in my pantry and fridge.
I also take into consideration when things will expire. If we have produce left to eat, I make sure to use it in meals made early in the week. That ensures the produce items don’t go bad before we eat them.
Here are some tips to help you build a nice stockpile in your pantry.
Look At Sales Flyers
Nearly every grocery store website has a weekly ad available for your store’s location.
These sales are going to be where you save the most money and can help you identify the best buys this week.
After you’ve exhausted your pantry, fridge, and freezer, this is where you should look next in order to spend the least amount on your groceries.
Remember, on each of these store lists we’ve identified the Best Deals so you can quickly create your shopping list. Plus any coupons available to use along with the sale!
Make Your Meal Plan
Now it’s time to bring out your meal planning template and get started!
Remember to keep your cookbooks and recipes handy to also make your grocery list for items you don’t have on hand.
Reference your recipes frequently to see which recipes match what’s on sale or items that can be bought with coupons. Use these to build your meal plan. I use the Supercook website for recipes that include sale items in them to keep our food cost the lowest.
Plan Your Meal Plan Around Busy Nights
After you’ve decided which meals you’ll be having, it’s time to assign them a day. Try to plan six meals a week and dedicate one day to leftovers.
Typically, our leftover night is at the end of the week after all the other recipes have been cooked. Sometimes we identify “leftover night” for our busiest night to make it easy.
Make sure you aren’t planning complicated meals on the nights when you are busy. Intentionally schedule easy meals for those nights.
I utilize my crock pot on busy nights. Check out all the slow cooker recipes I’ve found in Pinterest!
As you can see, meal planning doesn’t have to be that hard!
Where most people struggle with their meal plan is by making it too hard, or spending too much time with the little details.
Get your plan on paper by using the weekly meal plan template and commit to making the meals you plan, and you’ll see how much of a difference meal planning will make in your grocery budget and everyday life too.