Money Saving Home Cooked Meal Planning Tips

by Kimberly on October 23, 2012

How to Save Money on Home Cooked Meals

Money Saving Home Cooked Meal Planning Tips

I have heard many people say that they can’t save money using coupons because they cook from scratch and all the foods that coupons are for are for pre-packaged types of foods.  So, I thought it would be a great point to discuss here.  My husband is Italian and grew up with home cooked meals…meals cooked from scratch may I add.  I grew up as a missionary on a ship, where mass meals were prepared for us, by whoever had galley assignment, so my meals growing up were…ummmm…well, pretty awful.

I guess I really wanted my children to know what good home cooking tastes like, and also take care of my husband.  I will be the first to admit that getting into a routine of cooking has been a bit of a challenge for me, but I have successfully not only figured out how to find the time to cook meals from scratch, but also save money doing it.

For one thing, I often will make the ‘main dish’ from scratch and then maybe cook up a package or two of Uncle Ben’s Wild rice…so when I say I cook from scratch it’s usually one part of the meal….the main dish part. I have vegetables that I have bought fresh when they were cheap and froze, and also have some green giant type frozen products that have both vegetables and pasta or rice that make for a quick side dish.

How I plan my weekly Menu:

For my family’s Schedule I cook 3-4 meals per week, and cook enough so that we have leftovers on the nights I’m not cooking.  All of the great looking meals in the picture above, are the home cooked meals I made for my family this week on a tight budget!

I plan my meals around what’s on sale and also what I have in my stockpile.  When I find meat and seafood at a low price I stock up on it and freeze it, but if you are unable to do that, you can plan your meals according to what is on sale that week.

Here is my Menu Plan for this Week, and how I planned it. 

First, I checked my stockpile, and then I checked out what was on Sale this week.  Below are a few things that caught my eye, that I have great recipes for.

Just a heads up that if you shop at Publix, make sure to grab their Publix Apron’s Wimple Meals recipes…theya re FREE and each week the recipe is based off of items that are on sale!

I, of course, went on www.SavvyCouponLady.com, and checked out the current and upcoming sales at the grocery stores, but if you don’t have these stores in your area, you can certainly do the same by checking out a local coupon blog that does cover the stores in your area.

On Sale @ Winn Dixie:

  • Assorted Pork Chops, BOGO $3.99/lb
I then checked out the latest Publix Deals over on SavvyCouponLady, to find the best deals at my favorite grocery store!

On Sale @ Publix:

  • Pillsbury Crescent Dinner Rolls or Cinnamon Rolls or Grands Biscuits or Jr Flaky Golden Layers, 4-12 ounce, Get 10 for $10 (or $1 each)
  • 7-Bone Chuck Pot Roast, USDA Choice, $3.49 per pound
  • Fresh Express Salad Bags, 2/$6
  • Buitoni Chicken/Cheese Ravioli, 2/$6 (which AFTER coupons I scored for FREE!!)

My Menu Plan:

MONDAY – Smoky Bacon Pork Chops, Salad, Rotini Vegetable Side Dish (birds eye), Biscuits

The ingredients I needed:

  • Pork Chops – on Sale BOGO at Winn Dixie…bought 2 pkgs and froze one
  • Shredded Jack Cheese – in my freezer…part of my Stockpile
  • Bacon – in my freezer…part of my stockpile
  • Salad – bought on sale at Publix
  • Rontini Vegetables Birds Eye Frozen Steamfresh – in my freezer…part of my stockpile
  • Biscuits – bought on sale at Publix and used coupons, so cheap
  • Chipolte Pepper Sauce – (Tabasco sauce)…in my stockpile
  • Mayonnaise – in my stockpile
  • Mesquite Seasoning – in my stockpile

So, all I had to buy from my weekly budget for this meal was the pork chops (which I have enough for another meal with bogo sale), salad which was on sale, which I always buy anyways, and the Biscuits…everything else I bought when it was SUPER cheap using coupons.

TUESDAY- American’s Favorite Pot Roast, Egg Noodles, Salad, Biscuits

The Ingredients I needed:

  • Pot Roast – Bought On Sale at Publix
  • Carrots – Bought Super cheap at Publix
  • 2 Onions – Bought On Sale at Publix
  • Celery – Bought Super Cheap at Publix
  • Flour – in my stockpile
  • Salt – in my stockpile
  • Pepper – in my stockpile
  • White Mushrooms – Bought On Sale at Publix
  • Salad – Bought On Sale at Publix
  • 3 Potatoes – Bought On Sale at Publix
  • Egg Noodles – should be in my stockpile, but wasn’t so I bought at Publix…shame on me!
  • Biscuits – Bought on sale at Publix using coupons

I did have to buy quite a bit more for this meal, but the total I spent at Publix on Everything, using coupons was about $30…which works out to $5 per plate…that is expensive, but I only spent about $13.00 for the Monday Night Meal (that includes the pork chops I have in my freezer that I will get a 2nd meal out of) and spent even less for the Meal I am cooking on Thursday…so it all balances out.

THURSDAY – Ravioli Bianca Bake, Bread, Salad

The Ingredients I needed:

  • Baby Spinach – bought at Publix
  • Cooked Chicken Breast – I have chicken breast in my stockpile…bought at $1.79/lb
  • 4 oz Gourmet Mushroom Blend – Paid full price for at Publix
  • bacon – in my freezer….stockpile item (bought super cheap using coupons)
  • Shredded Italian Blend Cheese – in my freezer…stockpiled at $0.75/bag
  • Alfredo Sauce – in my stockpile…bought at $0.19 per jar at Publix using coupons
  • Buitoni Refrigerated Chicken & Cheese Ravioli – Got 4 packs for Free at Publix combining coupons with sale
  • Pepper – in my stockpile
  • Salad – bought on sale at Publix
  • Pillsbury French Loaf Bread – bought on sale at Publix a few weeks ago using coupons

The only items I had to pay for out of my weekly budget  were the Baby Spinach, Gourmet Mushrooms, and Salad….great deal for a family of 6!!

In Summary…

  1. Stock up on items you use on a regular basis when they are at their rock bottom price (combining sales with coupons)
  2. Check the Weekly ads for great deals on Meat/Seafood and other great items that could be a part of your meal or that you could stock up on.
  3. Plan your weekly menu around what you have in your stockpile and what is on sale

Another Idea to help you save time in planning your meals, is to color code your cookbooks with colored tabs…
Blue = Fish
Yellow = Seafood
Red = Red Meat
Pink = Pork
Green = Chicken
…you get the idea…Only mark the meals you actually do cook, and also when you make a meal have your family rate it 1-5 so you know if it’s a dish you want to make again in the future.  If it got a low rating take the tab off and don’t make it again. ;-)

When you check out the weekly ad deals, you can quickly find the meals you have recipes for that match with the sales.  Always make sure you check what you have in your stockpile and plan around that. You can also start looking at what meals you’d like to start making. Put a list together of the ingredients you’ll need and when you see those items go on sale super cheap, then stock up on them.

I stocked up on Cream of Chicken and Mushroom Condensed soup this week at Publix, paying only $0.25 per can after sales and coupons, because several of the recipes I make on a regular basis, call for that.

I hope this helps you all save money and plan affordable Home Cooked meals for your family!

I would love to hear some tips from you all on how you plan your meals and are also still able to save money.  Leave your Money Saving Meal Planning Tips in the Comments Below.

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