Hi friends! I really hope that you are having a great week. Mine has been pretty productive mainly because the week started with a federal holiday! A day off never hurts.

In my earlier post this week I mentioned that I would share one of my best food saving tips and here it is–meal planning. Being a personal blog junkie, I have seen several meal plans and personal shopping lists and one size does not fit all. It’s important to tailor your grocery list and meal planning tool to the uniqueness of your family.

After several months I have finally tweaked my system to the point that even the hubster knows where to find it and how to use it. Success, success, success.

Lets get started.

1. It was important for me to combine my meal planner list with my grocery list. This allows me to plan my meals and shop for any needed ingredients for each meal. On a blank sheet of paper I began by listing our most commonly enjoyed meals–pasta, tacos, burgers, salads, etc. Once the list was done, I grouped the meals by the type of meat–chicken, fish, pork, turkey, and of course a group of vegetarian options. Then I added a vegetable choice and a side dish, which is typically a starch of some kind.

meal planner

2. On the same sheet of paper I began to list the ingredients for each meal. Once the ingredients were all listed I grouped them by category as well–vegetables, fruit, meats, staples, dairy, etc.
My categories began to look like this:



3. Now the list was looking pretty good but many categories still needed to be added. I needed columns for cereal, staples, snacks, condiments, household items, personal hygiene products, and then Special items. There are always special items for recipes or other events.

4.  After all of my meals were added and the grocery list was well stocked, I reviewed both again for final touches. Honestly this will be a working document which will need edits and updates often–new recipes, simple ingredients you omitted, seasonal updates, etc.  Try not to become too frustrated with the tweaking process–good advice that I learned after tweak #20. Hehehe! The last step before this puppy is ready for printing is to organize your list.  I decided to organize my grocery list by the general location of each category as I enter the grocery store. Usually fruits and vegetables are found at the front of the store. Then you typically run into the frozen and refrigerated sections. You get the point! Each column was then sorted alphabetically–I’m left handed and that just makes sense. As for the meal list, I grouped each by the meat selection. All recipes for chicken are listed first, next is seafood, then turkey and pork. My veggie meals were grouped and listed last. That’s pretty much it!

No size fits all but I hope that you gained pointers to help customize your perfect solution. Click my Grocery and Meal List-CommonCentsToday now and feel free to make it your own!

How could I forget?!  Once your meal and grocery list are complete and printed, head to the ATM before going to your fave shopping center.  I do it each week–$100 cash for groceries. Most weeks I spend less.

Cash will keep you honest!

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