December 2016 Free Monthly Meal Plan and Grocery Haul

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The big question every mom dreads, it’s repeated every day starting around 5:00pm. “What’s for dinner? I am starving!”

You got this mama! YOU are super mom. Because you already have your meal plan filled out and displayed up on your fridge, the stress immediately dissolves!

Meal planning is a mom’s saving grace for dinnertime and the fastest way to cut thousands of dollars a year from your spending! 

A month of meals on a budget! FREE PRINTABLES! Meal planning is the fastest way for you to save money and drastically cut your budget today! Take a look at exactly how our family of five come in under budget, all thanks to meal planning.

Before I started meal planning for our family, we were spending almost $900 a month on food, and that was when it was just my hubby and I in the picture! (Now we spend under $400 a month on food for our family of 5, 100% thanks to meal planning!)

Does that sound ridiculous? If you were to track your spending for an entire month (which you totally should do!), my guess is that you spend close, if not way more than that.

Every stop for a drink from Starbucks, every last minute trip for one thing you forgot but end up buying five times that, or every stroll through the drive through. They ad up crazy fast!

What our family of 5 spent on groceries this month

Let’s get specific for our family’s grocery bill this month. Total cost for this entire month’s worth of food… $282 for our monthly grocery haul plus $25 each week for fresh produce.  

Then for our miscellaneous household purchases (toiletries, paper towels, band-aids) for our month supply we have spent $91 of our $160 monthly budget.

I just shared this months grocery haul on my Instagram Story. Make sure you’re following me there for daily frugal living tips!

There are a few things on our list, like ink, that I was not able to get when I was out shopping. So we most likely will use up the remainder of this months budget in the coming weeks.

Not only does meal planning save us money, it saves me hours and hours of stress, dinner planning, and time spent at the grocery store!

You can read this article on all the details and tips on how meal planning can save YOU thousands of dollars each year! I am not kidding! You really can save that much money! So go read that article and come right back here!

Stack the savings!

You will get much more detail when you check out that article all about how we do our monthly meal planning, but let me tell you really quick how we do it.

First thing is I plan my groceries/meal plan around what is currently on sale. Then, I see if there are any coupons or rebates that I can stack on top of the sale prices. That my Pearls, is the perfect match for maximum savings!

My favorite rebate app right now is Ibotta. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do that right here. It’s super simple, click on the store you want to shop at, search your grocery list and see if there are any items that match. Shop the brands, upload your receipte, get money back!

If you use my link right here to sign up for Ibotta, you will get $10 instantly after you claim your first rebate!

Don’t print just yet!

Though I am sharing with you our exact meal plan for this month, you might not want to print off this meal plan for a couple reasons.

  1. Your family might not like all the meals. So you definitely don’t want to plan a meal that no one will eat. That would be a huge waste of money!
  2. You want to start your meal plan each month basing the meals off the food you already have in your house.

BUT… the reason I am sharing this plan with you is because I want to show you that you totally can eat delicious food on a budget. Also, to give you a head start on your own customized meal plan.

Get started with your monthly meal planning PRINT NOW

You can download a blank meal planner (it’s actually an entire meal planning toolkit!) by clicking here to get your FREE Meal Planning on a Budget Toolkit. You will also see all the tips that I use to maximize our savings. There is more that goes into meal planning then just finding recipes.

Then don’t forget to fill out your Master Grocery List and Fresh Produce Grocery List with prices that are relative to where you live.

Grocery Shop Online

This is something I have completely fallen head over heals for lately! Though… I will preface with the fact that I have not found a single service that I just can’t tear myself away from… yet.

Here is what I have been using so far. I have been using Google Express to order all non-perishable goods. Then to complete my need for fresh groceries I use Amazon Prime Now. Which, if you use my link, you can sign up for Amazon Prime for FREE for the first 30 days!

You can sign up for Google Express here and get $15 for your first order. Keep reading to see how I feel about using it. My most recent experience wasn’t the best. But with $15 off, it’s worth at least one try!

Related Articles: 

December 2016 Meal Plan

Come and get it! Hot off the presses is your very own copy of our family’s meal plan for this month. It feeds our family from the second week of December through the first week of January.

Figure out what way best to use it for your own family. Maybe you won’t use every single recipe.

Is there a week of the month that is just crazy insane? Don’t plan to do your grocery shopping during that time. Make sure your meal plan covers past the insanity and doesn’t leave you hungry with no plan.

You can download this month’s meal plan by clicking here or by clicking the image below.

A month of meals on a budget! FREE PRINTABLES! Meal planning is the fastest way for you to save money and drastically cut your budget today! Take a look at exactly how our family of five come in under budget, all thanks to meal planning.

December Grocery Haul

And don’t forget! One of the first things I do after bringing the groceries into the house is go through my favorite rebate app and see what I can get quick cash back on.

If you aren’t already signed up with Ibotta, you can use this link or use this code: qybjrj and you will automatically get $10 back after you claim your first rebate! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram where I will share how I use Ibotta to save big! 


Take a look at what it actually looks like for a family of five to do an entire month’s worth of grocery shopping in one day!

This month I was disappointed in my Google Express packages. Because it’s the holidays I did expect the delivery to take a bit longer. But they showed up three days late!

Then when the packages arrived, they looked like they had survived an encounter with a tornado. The most frustrating party is the way one of the boxes was packed.

Very heavy items, like a pack of copy paper, were paired with delicate food items like boxes of pasta. When I opened the package, there were boxes of food that had been smashed open and pasta all over the place.

I will say that this is the first time that I have received a package from Google Express in this condition. I still plan to give them another shot in the future.

BUT… I am on the hunt for a one-stop online shop. Where I can order all of my groceries in one place. Where I won’t have to take a single step in a brick and mortar store.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I will be looking more into using Jet.com or Amazon Pantry for my next monthly grocery haul.

There you have at. A complete inside look into the world of food for our family. Monthly meal planning might seem extremely overwhelming at first, so start at weekly meal planning. You can do it and you won’t want to stop once you get started!

Thanks for stopping in and I will talk to you later! xoxo

Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_annapustynnikova’>annapustynnikova / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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  • Reply
    January 12, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Thank you for the great tips! I am excited to get started. I found you on YouTube and your videos, like your blog are very up beat and helpful!

    • Reply
      Brittany Cooper
      January 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Thank you so much Charlotte!! I’m so glad you made it over to the blog! Let me know anytime if there is anything you want me to cover! 💜

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Many stores do order online, pick up at the store (no need to go inside!). Our local Smith’s (Kroger) does it, and it really is a lifesaver with two small kids. It also helps me stay on budget and make fewer impulse buys. I know Walmart and a few local grocery stores do it as well. Definitely something to look into!

    • Reply
      Brittany Cooper
      March 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      That’s so true! Thanks for the reminder! I NEED to try it out!!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Did I overlook the recipes for the meal plan or do you have them available? Love the plan! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Brittany Cooper
      March 5, 2018 at 6:30 am

      You are so welcome! If you download the pdf then the meals become clickable links to the recipes 💜👍🏻

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