Hey, y’all! I’ve been wanting to share these tips for a while! I’ve been meal prepping now for about a year and I’ve gotten my grocery list down to a science. My friend asked me for my tips today, and I decided I finally need to dedicate a blog post to it. For some background, I grocery shop for me and Taylor, I’m spending $30 a week TOTAL for both of us.
How To Meal Prep For $30 A Week
1.Stock Up On Your Staples
I keep a full freezer and pantry at all times. This is where the serious money savings come in. I keep back stock of everything that I use a lot, and I buy in bulk. I usually stock up on most of these items during our monthly Costco runs. Especially meat. I can buy 6lbs of beef for $20 at Costco, divide that into 1lb chunks, put it in a bag and label it for future use, and stick each in the freezer! Once I need one, I’ll take it out of the freezer to defrost. I also do this with chicken breast as well. Chicken comes in a giant bag in the freezer section of Costco anyways, so that makes things easier. I just pull out how many I need each time I use them.
Another thing I love to stock up on is canned goods. I usually keep back stock of some vegetables like corn and green beans (I also keep frozen vegetables on hand too), chicken broth, enchilada sauce, cream of mushroom soup (so many good casseroles start with this), Rotel, and some different types of crushed/diced tomatoes. I usually buy these in bulk when they’re on sale at the grocery store. Sometimes you can get cans for as low as 40cents if you shop at the right time!
The last thing I keep a small back stock of is onions and potatoes. These usually don’t perish right away and so I buy the huge bags at the grocery store of them and use them as needed. Onions are in pretty much every recipe and potatoes are a great, easy side!
Your list might be different than mine depending on what you use in your recipes! These are just the staples in our household.
2. Shop Your Pantry
Now that you have your back stock, create a menu for the week and a shopping list based on what you already have. I usually won’t even bother with a recipe if I need more than a couple items on the list from it. I like to go through my pantry while I’m deciding what to make so I know exactly what I have on hand. From my staples, some of my favorite recipes are Chicken Enchiladas, Taco Bowls, and so many soups (soups are so easy, filling, and go a long way!). I have another blog post coming soon where I’ll share these recipes!
3. Make A Menu & Create Your Grocery List
Now that you know what you have, you can create a menu. Pinterest is my go to for recipes. Pretty much all of the ones I use are from there. I usually pick 3-4 meals for the week and we eat them for dinner and then leftovers for lunch the next day. I try to do one crockpot meal, one oven meal, and 1-2 instant pot meals for the week (I’ll explain why the diversity is important later).
Once you have your menu, you can create a grocery list. Like I said, each recipe shouldn’t need more than a few items when you use your back stock. Usually these would be perishables like milk, produce, or eggs. So my grocery list is usually only 8-10 items long and, since we don’t need any meat, each item shouldn’t cost more than $5. My usual weekly grocery list is anywhere between $20-30.
The only shopping trip that costs more is the monthly Costco trip. If you know me you know I love Costco. I’ve written blog posts about it. I save up all month long for my Costco trip to stock up. Taylor and I usually spend about $150 a month at Costco total for the both of us and that includes dog food as well. This isn’t just food either. We get our toilet paper, laundry detergent, you name it we get it at Costco. It saves us so much money.
4. Grocery Shop!
My rule is I estimate how much I think it’s going to cost for my trip and add $5-10 to that just in case, and that’s all I bring to the store with me in cash! This saves me from overspending or buying junk we don’t need. Also, don’t bring your significant other to the store with you, or you’ll end up with hot chips and beer in your cart too 😂. Oh and don’t forget your list. I’ve done that a few times, and it just makes everything exponentially harder lol.
5. Cook Cook Cook
I work a lot and I don’t get home until late some nights during the week, so I do all my cooking on the weekend. I spend about 3 hours on either Saturday or Sunday cooking and prepping everything for the week ahead. The best way to make sure I can get it all done in this window is cooking in three different mediums at once (crockpot, instant pot, and oven.. told you it’d be important later!) Crockpot meals take the longest, so I get my crockpot meal cooking first, then the oven meal, and then the instant pot. I have it down to a pretty good system now where I’m prepping one meal right after the other.
And joila! You have your meals prepped and ready for the week, and you’ve only spent $30! I would love to hear some of your favorite easy meals below! I’ll be sharing mine in a post coming soon!
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