My Grocery List

How To Create a Meal Plan Routine

I love creating a grocery list. I am still very much someone who creates their list on paper. My favorite weekly meal plan to use is the Rifle Paper Co. weekly meal plan pad! Dan and I create our meal plans for the week, which helps me stick to a budget. Once we create the meal plan, we then create the grocery list based on that.

I have a whiteboard on our fridge where we add things throughout the week that we run out of. For instance, written this week was mayo and salt. I did not need either of these for any recipe or meal in particular, but I wanted to be sure we had them in back stock. I also shop at two grocery stores to keep my grocery budget down.

I do most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s because I genuinely find it to be the cheapest. Everything on the left side of the list (give or take a few extras) was a total of $141. Compare that to the small list of 10 things at Whole Foods which cost $45 alone. Altogether, I spent around $200 on grouches. Our weekly grocery budget is about that, but depending on what we eat that week it can be over or under.

For instance, I never put big ticket items on a grocery list that are in an off week of pay. I get paid on the 15th and the 30th of the month, so if I grocery shop on the 1st, that is a week we could do steaks, bone-in pork-chops, or go out for a nicer meal. On the weeks opposite those, we tend to reheat items from the freezer like chili or soup. We also try to have sandwiches, chicken, or ground beef. This week was a big ticket item week, but ultimately these are the meals that felt good for us to make this week.

Using a method and routine of creating a grocery list together is not only great quality time for Dan and I, but it helps ease our mind the it comes to financial spending and dinner making. Having a menu allows us to actually have more freedom! For instance, if we are eating chicken and pepper quesadillas on day and Dan needs to stay late at school, that’s an easy switch. I can simply freeze the chicken for a later week and make myself something small like a sandwich, frozen pizza, or soup. That way we save what we don’t eat and it allows him to stay late at school and I can find something cheap for myself. If we didn’t have a meal plan, that might would turn into a big order out or yet another grocery store trip.

If you are struggling to come up with a meal plan or stick to a routine, try the following.

  • Pick a day that you grocery shop- we like Saturday mornings with coffee 🙂
  • Meal plan the day before you grocery shop.
  • Make this time special for you and your partner/family, or just yourself! Light a candle, make a cup of tea, clean out the fridge, and sit down to create it.
  • Avoid creating it on your phone in the notes app, unless convenience is your top priority. I find writing it down to be most helpful, but there are tons of meal plan templates on Etsy or Canva you could use!
  • Research recipes you want to try.
  • Write down your comfort meals.
  • Think of your schedule- what nights need to be easy and what nights can you spend more time.
  • Create your grocery list from the plan you’ve made.
  • Shop!

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