This year I practiced meal planning on a pretty much regular basis. I even kept a notebook full of my meal plans and how much I spent approximately per meal. The reason I did this is that I wanted to see if it really would save a great deal of money for me to practice meal planning or if it was just an organizational method that people were using and trying to pass off as a money saving opportunity.
For the first three months before I began the actual meal planning, I had been keeping track of how much money we spent on groceries for the month. I know our costs are a bit high, but we have five kids so feeding a family of seven costs a bit more than an average family of four or five. This total also includes all bulk warehouse purchases and food purchases from a discount chain, as well as including the grocery stores. It does not include toiletries and paper or plastic products (trash bags, storage bags, etc.) – only food.
Here is the rough breakdown of the entire project with the average in food costs per day:
Before the Meal Planning
- Month 1: $543 (average out to about $18/day in food)
- Month 2: $438 (averaging out to about $14/day in food)
- Month 3: $471 (averaging out to about $16/day in food)
After the meal planning
- Month 4: $405 (averaging out to about $13.50/day in food)
- Month 5: $327 (averaging out to about $11.00/day in food)
- Month 6: $362 (averaging out to about $12.00/day in food)
I have continued several months past this breakdown and thankfully have kept our costs consistently below $350/month, sometimes considerably less when I have some really awesome coupons.
The next article will be a summarized breakdown of each month and what it included and how I saved.
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