Meal planning is the #1 action we took that instantly took our monthly food spending from over $700 a month for only two people, to now under $400 each month for our family of five.
Every month I share with you exactly what our family is eating for the month on a $400 budget! Chances are these monthly meal plans on a budget are going to help you save thousands of dollars each year!
This month had a couple weeks with unique circumstances like my hubby being out of town or having two kiddos recovering from tonsillectomies. It’s important to plan activities and events like these into your meal plan each week!
You don’t want to plan to cook a full on meal at home when there is no possible way for it to work into your day. You will end up wasting a lot of groceries that way!
Our Family Food Budget
Our family will budget $300 each month for our big monthly consumable grocery haul. This includes all food that our family needs for the month that can be purchased now and can either stay in the pantry for that long or can be frozen.
We then also budget $160 for an additional non-consumable goods for our home. I will usually refer to this as our “miscellaneous household goods” budget. Things included in this category would be things like toiletries and other random things we need around the house like air filters or laundry detergent.
Then to be sure we are getting what we need, our family will budget an additional $25 each week for fresh produce and milk. This will bring our total consumable budget for the month to $400 ($300 monthly +$25 each week).
You can see a complete break down of exactly how we categorize our cash spending in our Monthly One Income Family Budget Updates.
Why only 5 meals a week?
I used to plan out seven meals each week but found that we were wasting a lot of food through leftovers or rotting produce. Another thing I noticed is that we usually go to a family member or friend’s house once a week or maybe eat out once a week.
We dropped our planning down to six meals a week but still found waste. Five meals a week is where we have found balance for our families needs. I cook for five meals and we usually eat leftovers 1-2 meals a week. Then for the last meal of the week we usually help with a meal at someone else’s home or we get a date night!
How to Start Meal Planning
THE number one thing that helped us to cut our food spending by thousands a year, is solely attributed to meal planning!
You can read in more detail about how we go about monthly meal planning in this article. You will see exactly how we plan a budget so we are able to spend so much on groceries all at one time.
These printables I am sharing with you are the exact thing I use to keep our meal planning on budget. You can get them for FREE!
Though I have a complete months worth of meals all planned out for your convenience, it is still my suggestion that you print out these blank templates and fill in meals based off of what you already have in you pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Make sure that you are stacking the savings!
After you have your grocery list in order. Make sure that you are shopping the sales at your local stores and be sure to get as many rebates as possible!
My very favorite and easiest way to get money back from grocery shopping is by using Ibotta!
It is SO SIMPLE! Get the app, look to see which rebates are available at the specific store you plan to shop at, purchase qualifying products, upload your receipt right into the app, and the cash will be credited to your account!
If you are new to using Ibotta, make sure to use my link to sign up and you will get $10 instantly after you claim your first rebate on top of all the other cash back you will be getting!
What it looks like to shop for an entire month at once!
May 2017 $400 Budget Monthly Meal Plan
Download this month’s FREE meal plan by clicking the image below.
What’s your favorite dinner that you know everyone on the fam will love it? Share it down in the comments!
Thanks for stopping in and I’ll talk to you soon! xoxo
FREE Printable - Meal Planning on a Budget Toolkit!
There are three things that helped our one income family build an emergency fund, pay off over $20,000 in debt, and start saving to buy our first home and MEAL PLANNING is one of those!
By using this Meal Planning on a Budget Toolkit you will start to see YOUR MONEY build up in your bank account, all while saving time and stress at dinner time!