Budgeting and Meal Planning

I know over the last year or so I have written a couple of posts about budgeting and working to save some money. Well on that exciting front, I have some neat news to report. We have started to use an app called YNAB (You Need A Budget) and it has been life changing. In my last blog post about saving money I talked about emptying out your pantry and how using up your food is helpful in saving money. I need to plan this next week to work to do that again … purge the items that you have accumulated over the last few weeks and use up literally ALL the things in the refrigerator and pantry.


What we have been focusing over the last month or two has been eating out less. I have worked to meal plan over the years, but I have been using a new list from The Happy Planner and I love it. My mother-in-law gave me this planner and I left it on my desk for awhile, but I picked it up again in the last couple of months and I am obsessed with it. It has been so helpful to have a grocery list on one side and then a meal planning list on the other side. I take the list with me to the store, purchase ONLY the items on the list and then use the meal planning side during the week at home. Then as we make each item I check off that meal and it helps me keep track of what else I have to prepare for the week. I don’t get caught up in what day I prepare what food items. With this new list, we have been better about eating at home and not eating out as much. The combination of using YNAB and then meal planning has really helped us saving money.

We have been budgeting groceries, household items and alcohol separately. This has been helpful as well to see where our money goes throughout the month. We have worked to give each of the dollars we earn a purpose. Then we have the freedom to use that money throughout the month in our budget. If we don’t use that money then we save it for the next month and if we overspend in a certain category then we have to take that money from another area (and give up something else).

I think the main lesson we have learned in the last several month is intentionality. We are trying to be intentional with the money we have and what we decide to spend it on. We stick with our weekly food schedule and I routinely go to the grocery on Sunday afternoons. I make out my list and menu for the week, purchase those items and then bring them home for the week. That is our schedule. My husband has been taking a packed lunch with him and then when he works late he has a microwave dinner he will take with him. That way we all eat out much less and when we do choose to eat out it is a fun thing that we all enjoy!

What ways are planning on working to save money this week? Do you use a budgeting app? What have you found to help you use your money more intentionally?