Coupon Codes

Meal planning?

I wasn't sure where to post this but I assumed that anyone doing coupon stuff would also be pretty excellent at meal planning. Where did you start and how mug time do you invest? What tips can you give me and what doesn't work? 
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Re: Meal planning?

  • This was actually one of my new years resolutions, so I actually just started this year. It has saved us SO much money. I used to use coupons a lot, but I've lost the time for clipping, organizing, etc. However, meal planning helps save a lot. Our grocery bill for just the 2 of us went from about $250-$300/month to $150-$200/month, including stuff like shampoo and laundry detergent.

     

    I probably spend 30 minutes a week on it. I am online a lot, so I gather recipes randomly throughout the week. Then on either Tuesday or Wednesday, I sit down with that weeks ads from our grocery stores. First I look through all of them, circling what is a good deal and what I want to find a recipe to use. Then I'll try to think of or find recipes for stuff that is on sale and based on what I already have. The key for me is making sure most of what I'm making and shopping for is on sale, this saves a ton of money. What we eat usually depends on what is on sale.

    I have a little spreadsheet print out that I use now, but I didn't use it until about a month ago. I write down 6 recipes I plan on making that week. Then I go through what ingredients are needed in my head and write down I need to buy based on store.

     It sounds a little intimidating and time consuming, but I really don't spend more than 30 minutes on it each week. 

  • First off, DH and I do not mind leftovers. Therefore, almost all recipes we follow are for more than 2 people. That saves money if we only make 4 dinners a week, instead of 7. 

    Second, while PPs way of meal-planning is a money saver, we don't always look at the store coupons first. PP mentioned they look at what's on sale, and plan from there. We have done this, but also if we are in the mood for X this week, we find a recipe, see which ingredients we already have, and then compare prices for the other items we'll need. 
    *It is important to always have a list when shopping. Don't just buy things on a whim. Stick to your list, and stick to your budget. 

    Lastly, I will never be an extreme couponer. I do not have the time or patience for that. However, make sure you're involved with your grocery store. Here, I save money just for 'signing up' to be a member of a particular store. I do not need a store-credit-card or anything, but because I am a member, I often get discounts for already-on-sale items. So after taking 5 minutes of my time to sign up, I will save (even if it's just pennies) every time I go to that store. 
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  • I use the sale circulars of the two main stores I shop at. I compare what's on sale and what I have coupons for. Then, I make my list for the week of what we will eat each night keeping in mind leftovers and what breakfasts and lunches as well. I spend 30 min. once a week. 
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