Spend Less on Groceries – 5 Tips for Menu Planning

Many of us look to spend less on groceries when looking to reduce our overall budget.  The USDA data shows that on average, Americans spend about 10% of their income on food.  For households in the lower tax brackets, the percentage may be as high as 36%.  That’s a lot of money going towards food!  There is one simple step that I’ve taken over the years to significantly reduce our grocery spending while not sacrificing the quality of what we eat.

spend less on groceries

Spend Less on Groceries with Menu Planning

If you are trying to spend less on groceries, menu planning is one of the easiest things you can do to achieve that goal.  Yes, menu planning can be a drag but I find that with a plan we typically eat better and spend way less.  Knowing what to buy prevents you from over spending at the grocery store.  Knowing what you are going to eat saves you from wasting food (Americans tends to throw away a lot of food!) and frees you from decision making during a busy week.

Did you hear that?  Not only does menu planning save money, it can also help alleviate stress.  Knowing what you are going to make any given night and ensuring you have everything is one way to take one stressor off the table.

Are you serious about your goal to spend less on groceries.  Do you want to take some of the anxiety out of your weeknights?  Then you need to start menu planning.

Menu Planning Tips

  1. Commit to doing it.  If you don’t take the time to make the plan, it’s 100% guaranteed to not work.
  2. Consider what your week looks like.  If you are running every night of the week, a dinner that includes massive amounts of prep may not be the best for the plan.  Simple is usually the best, success with the execution of the plan is the best way to drive you to do it next week.
  3. Keep all recipes together an in an easy to access location.  I’ve actually created a Menu Planning Binder (I’ll share my method at a later date) that I can page through for ideas.  The act of meu planning shouldn’t stress you out.
  4. Inventory your pantry, refrigerator and freezer.  What meals can you put together with what you have on hand or with just a few additional purchased ingredients?
  5. If possible, let the family offer some ideas.  I do most of the menu planning, but I do ask for Mike’s input to see if there’s something he’d like to eat.  Input into the plan should alleviate any complaining about what you put on the table.
  6. Keep tweaking the process until it works for your family.  There are a lot of different ways to menu plan, this is not a one size fits all process.  Keep working the process until it works for you and delivers the savings and stress reduction your looking for!

Weekly Menu

Now that I’ve encouraged you to start menu planning, I’ll share my plan with you.  This week we are getting a Plated.com box which makes my menu planning super easy!

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken Spiedini

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs

Tumeric Spiced Chicken

Turmeric Braised Chicken


Manchego Burgers

Steaks on the grill

Steak and Shrimp (this was our New Year’s Day meal)

Dinner out 2x

Do you have any tips for menu planning that work for you?

I’ll be linking up at I’m an Organizing Junkie.

Do you want to try a free week of Plated.com?  I have a few free weeks that I’d like to give away (first come first serve).  The only caveat is you have to PROMISE to use them.  Send me an email with your first name and email address and I’ll send you over the link.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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