How I Saved $371.04 In One Month With Meal Planning

Do you tend to overspend on groceries?  Have the best intentions with meal planning but not sure where to start?  Read on for tips plus FREE A5 and personal size menu planning inserts!

Get FREE meal planner inserts for A5 & personal size planners. Plus, get great tips on how you can drastically reduce your grocery bill with effective meal planning.

Today, I want to tell you about how I saved $371.04 in one month with meal planning. Last month, I had a huge shock. For the first time in a long time, I decided to go through our bank statements to see what we were spending our money on.

I knew we spent way too much money on groceries (and takeaways) but I didn’t know just how much. Let me tell you how much – £700!! This is the equivalent to USD$1050 (at the current conversion rate). Now, I have no idea how expensive groceries are in the US, only that planner and craft supplies are cheaper which is a different story but $1050 per month in Europe is EXPENSIVE for a family of 4 – 2 adults, a 3.5 year old and 8 month old.

Check out these lovely meal planner inserts. Free planner printables to help you rock your meal planning.

Time to get meal planning

So, I decided it was time to start meal planning. We used to meal plan in the past but not in a bid to save money but more to support a healthy lifestyle. There was no budgeting involved. I decided it was time to put my expenses inserts and meal planning and shopping list inserts to use in a bid to try and save some money. I asked in my Facebook group for tried and tested ideas on meal planning and I got some great input.

We have just finished our last weekly shop for the month before pay day comes around and check this out for savings – our total food bill for the month including a few impulse buys was £452.64 ($678.96). I am sure we could have done a little better but what an incredible saving for our first month at budget food shopping.

Now it’s your turn

You will love these free printable meal planner inserts. So cute & functional!


If you would like to have a go at meal planning I have put together some meal planing inserts (A5 and personal size) for todays freebie. (Scroll down to get your free download!)  Below I am also sharing some tips on how I managed to save $371.04 on this months food shop.

5 Tips For Successful Meal Planning

1.  Keeping an inventory – Every week before we go shopping I go through all the cupboards in the kitchen, the fridge, the freezer and bathroom and I make an inventory of everything we have.

2.  Making the most of ingredients – I use the inventories to see what meals I can make with what we already have or what meals I can make where I only need to buy a few things that I don’t have. I also try to cook from scratch where time allows and since we eat cooked food for lunch (Mediterranean tradition) we try to double up for lunch the following day.

3.  Meal Planning – Using my meal planning inserts I plan what we are going to eat for dinner for each day of the week and I stick to it as much as I can. Sometimes plans get changed or things don’t go according to plan and so there are occasions where the meal plan isn’t followed.

4.  Writing a shopping list – I write a shopping list and take it shopping with me. That way I buy only what I need. We used to do our weekly shop without a shopping list and we would walk each isle and just put stuff in the trolley without really paying attention. It was a bad habit that needed to be broken and now it has been.

5.  Doing a weekly shop every week – Somewhere between having our babies and my husband becoming a policeman we stopped doing a weekly shop. Sometimes we would go twice a week and on occasions it would be as long as 10 days with 3-4 visits for the necessities as week. Now we are ensuring that we do a proper food shop once a week.

You will love these free printable meal planner inserts. So cute & functional!

Planner Squad Subscribers get access to all FREE planner pirntables-inserts, stickers, & more!  To get your A5 & personal size meal planning inserts, click on image below!

Get free planner printables at Planner Squad. Subscribers get awesome planner inserts, stickers, & more-like these meal planning pages.

We’d love to hear your tips for successful meal planning and grocery shopping. Share your tips in the comments below.

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Tina is the owner and designer of Little Chiqui Paperie, an online stationery boutique specialising in planner inserts. She lives on a sunny mediterranean island with her two sons and fiancé. Tina is a major craftaholic, planner junkie and stationery lover.


  1. Mandi says

    I love your tips. We use several of them. Yes, food is probably our biggest expense each month besides our mortgage. Crazy! Thanks for sharing on Planner Squad!


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