Meal planning takes much of the guesswork out of cooking. It ensures you know what you’re going to make each day. It also helps you save a bit of money because you’re going to the supermarket with a list. Just buy what’s on the list, nothing else, and you’ll save money. But there’s another way you can save money with meal planning, and that’s by integrating it with couponing.
Gather Your Weekly Supermarket Flyers
The first step is to sit down with the weekly sales flyers. This is where you’ll learn that chicken breasts are on sale and blueberries are a buck a pint. Base your initial meal planning on the flyers, because the majority of your meals will be from the produce section and there generally aren’t too many coupons for produce.
Inevitably, once you have an outline for your meals that week, you’ll need to also add some staples to your list. These may be things like yogurt, cereal, and bacon for breakfast on Sunday, crackers for the kids’ lunches and so on. It’s time for the second step.
Now it’s time to tap into all of your coupon resources. These may be in your newspaper supplements, in your mail box and in magazines. You can also find downloadable and printable coupons online. It’s a great money-saving resource.
Clip or download only the coupons that match items on your list. You’ll ideally find coupons to cover just about every staple on your list and you may find some produce coupons too. Produce coupons are usually for bags of vegetables or salads. Sometimes you can find coupons for eggs and milk too. Clip these!
It’s also a great idea to clip any coupons that you think you might use next time. You can then work next week’s grocery list around the flyers and the coupons you already have. Additionally, don’t forget to clip coupons for household products like paper towels. Sometimes it just makes sense to stock up.
Head to the store and shop from your list. In a perfect world every item on your list will either be on sale or have a coupon, or both. Track your savings. Also track how your weekly meal planning went. Did you have to run to the store mid-week for anything? Make adjustments to your meal planning routine to prevent this from occurring.
Meal planning is a super way to save money and to reduce stress. Add in a smart couponing strategy, and grocery shopping becomes an efficient and budget friendly process.