2021 is finally here, and with a new year comes new goals. If one of your goals is to save more money this year, meal planning is a great way to get started. We know groceries can be expensive and meal planning exhausting, but trust us when we say that meal planning will help you stay on budget. We’ve gathered some great tips to get you started! 

1. Shop your pantry

The goal here is to use up what you have before it goes bad to eliminate waste and reduce grocery costs for the week. So, first things first –  inventory what you already have. Go through your fridge, freezer, and pantry, and note down the ingredients you have that may expire soon or items that have already been opened. This will not only remind you of what you already have, but it will inspire your meals for the week. 

2. See what’s on sale

Another great way to save on groceries is to plan meals around items that are on sale. That’s where we come in! Download the Flipp app, if you don’t have it already, and shop this week’s deals at the stores closest to you. Pick some ingredients that are on sale and plan around these as you develop your meals for the week. 

Flipp Tipp: Seasonal ingredients are often cheaper and make for fun and festive meals! 

3. Try meatless Monday

As delicious as meat is, it often costs a bit more than a vegetarian dish. Challenge yourself and your family to enjoy one meatless meal a week (no, it doesn’t have to be Monday). There are so many delicious vegetarian options out there, and this challenge will help you explore those opportunities while saving some money. If you need some inspiration check out our blog post featuring some great vegetarian dishes. 

4. Enjoy grains! 

Grains are the definition of cheap and cheerful! Rice, quinoa, and barley make a great base for many dishes, and are affordable options. You can easily mix these into meals to clean out that pantry, or even just serving them with some veggies or meat can create a delicious meal. 

5. Cook family style

Depending on how many people you are cooking for, cooking family style may be a great option. Cooking in larger quantities allows you to spend less time in the kitchen during the week, and gives you and your family the ability to mix and match, making their own meal combinations. For example, choose 3 mains and 4 sides to store in the fridge, and each day you can mix and match what you eat. Even though the quantities are larger, you won’t be breaking the bank because you’ll be using ingredients that you may already have or that are on sale at the store. 

6. Leftover night

Leftovers always get a bad rap. But they don’t have to. Instead of  throwing out food after meals or at the end of the week (not to mention your hard earned money),  try scheduling a meal towards the end of the week to be leftover night. This way you can enjoy your favorite meals from the week all over again and avoid wasting food and money. It will also save you lots of time because the cooking is already done! 

Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Challenge yourself and start 2021 off planning your meals using these budget-friendly tips! If you need some extra motivation to get you started, make sure you check out our post on Meal Prep 101. Also be sure to download the Flipp app to find the best deals and savings near you. 

Do you have a tip for meal planning on a budget? Comment below and let us know! 

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