Are You Making The #1 Meal Planning Mistake?

meal planning mistake

There are thousands (maybe millions) of articles published about meal planning. And for obvious reasons! It is the most important technique to cut back on your grocery bill. If you have a plan, you will spend less money on food. Period. The end. It’s just that simple.

I will go as far to say that if I didn’t start meal planning, I wouldn’t have paid off $81,400 of debt in 2 years.

And meal planning isn’t new. It’s one of those tried-and-true frugal tricks. In fact, when my husband and I were renovating the kitchen in our fixer upper we found a 30-year-old monthly meal plan that the previous owner left inside the wall. And the previous owners were the most frugal people I ever met in real life. They had no debt, paid for the house in cash, never even had the house wired for cable, fixed everything themselves and even their adult kids had homes paid for in cash. 

meal planning mistake

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While I was pouring over the old meal plan, a few things became very clear. No matter how much money you have, you still need to plan. Even if you eat out more days than you eat in, you still need to plan. Even if you don’t have a fancy form or calendar, you still need to plan. And most importantly, I realized the #1 meal planning mistake many people are making right now.

The #1 meal planning mistake is to NOT WRITE SOMETHING (ANYTHING) DOWN!

There is no right or wrong ways to plan meals. You can plan meals by the month, you can plan meals by the week, you can plan to eat the same food every single day or you can plan to eat out every night. Seriously, the methods are limitless. But you need to write it down.

Even if you think your plan is lame (pizza, leftovers, pizza, hamburgers, pizza, spaghetti, repeat), it’s still a plan! You will still save money by avoiding the last-minute trips to the grocery store – or worse – a restaurant.

So grab an old piece of junk mail, download a nice free printable, or visit a meal planning website and write down your meals. 

 How I Meal Plan

I’m a sucker for pen and paper, but I’ve found that the easiest way for me to plan meals is through Plan to Eat. It’s the easiest meal planning website ever. I had several friends rave about the service for months before I tried it out. And once I did, I was hooked!

Plan To Eat not only stores recipes that you like to eat, but you can share recipes with friends. Plus it is so easy to import recipes from your favorite recipes and blogs. (When I say easy, I mean it takes 30 seconds.)  

Check out how simple this process is. Open up a new recipe and click Import from Web. 

meal planning mistake

Paste in the URL for a recipe you love. And watch the magic happen as the site populates the form for you, including ingredients, description, directions and more!

meal planning mistake

Once you spend a few minutes populating your account with recipes, you can drag and drop recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

meal planning mistake


Plan To East lets you plan by week or month depending on your meal planning style. Best of all, Plan To Eat gives you a free 30-day trial to decide if online meal planning is a thing for you.  You can sign up to start your free month here: Plan to Eat

And One More Thing For You!

I hope that you agree by this point in the post that you need to meal plan to save money. Since you’ve hung around for the entire post, I have a gift for you. I created a 7-day meal plan of 7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Best of all, the food to make the meals will cost you $50 at Aldi. (You can see pictures from my shopping trip here.) It includes real food, like beef fajitas and chicken pot pie, that my family stills eats even though we’ve paid off our $81,400 in debt.


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Feed a family of 4 on $50

Monthly Meal Planning Printable!

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