Here is what a typical weekend looks like for me as far as planning and prepping, as well as the tools and apps that I use.
SaturdayCheck out Pinterest and cookbooks for recipes. I have a page for recipes that I want to try, as well as "Tried It and Loved It" for recipes that I've enjoyed. I try to find recipes that use up some products that I already have an need to use up, so I'll search for things like "Chicken and Lemon recipe". I also look at cookbooks and my favorite blogs for some ideas.
Once I come up with some meal ideas (usually 4-5 for a week is enough, and then I'll eat leftovers or something quick and easy the other days), I'll write down the meals in my planner and on my pad that I keep on the refrigerator. I got this as a gift a few years ago, and I love being able to write down meal ideas where I will see it! In the "ingredient" section, I write down anything that I don't have.
Favorite Cookbooks :
I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook
Cooking with Trader Joe's- Pack a Lunch
Favorite Blogs :
Running With Spoons
Pinch of Yum
Pioneer Woman Cooks
Next, I make a shopping list. I use the app "Buy Me a Pie". I like this app because it categorizes food and keeps it organized! This makes it so much easier to shop and make sure you don't forget anything. Once you get the item, you just tap on it and it puts it at the end of the list. So much better than having a pad and pen!
Next, I look for savings. First I check out Ibotta [referral link], which offers rebates on groceries. All you have to do is select your store, then click on any item you're planning on buying. Each rebate has a small task (something like watching a 20 second video, taking a survey, etc.) and there are also special badges you can earn. On this trip, I used 10 different rebates and earned a "Weekend Warrior" Badge and a November bonus just for shopping!
I also go through coupons that I get in the mail. Giant Eagle also started doing online coupons that you can add to your Advantage Card. I go through my list and see what coupons I can add and what coupons I can clip and bring to the store. This week, I ended up saving almost $20 just by clipping coupons, and got back over $10 in rebates from Ibotta!
SundayGo to the store! I always try to wake up as early as possible so that I can go before the store is too busy. The Trader Joe's and Giant Eagle closest to my apartment are always packed and it's a very stressful trip, so Dan and I prefer going in the morning.
Once I'm home, I put all the groceries away and leave out any lunch items. I'll make my lunches for the week all at once to save a ton of time and not have to worry about it later. I kept it simple this week- sandwich, apple, salad and yogurt. If you want more lunch ideas, check out my post here!
In the fridge, I just stack up all of the items, so that I can throw everything into my lunch box the night before and grab it in the morning. When I tell myself I'll make lunch in the morning, it never gets done. Having it ready just to grab ensures that I won't have to buy lunch at work, which (as you should know) can save you a ton of money!
I also make breakfast for the week. There are lots of easy things to prepare in advance, such as overnight oats, breakfast wraps or sandwiches put into the freezer, or frozen waffles with peanut butter. For more ideas, check out my post! I decided on overnight oats for the week with mango and vanilla yogurt.
Finally, I make any dinner items that can sit for a few days. For this week, that would be the rice salad and Thanksgiving soup. Since I already chopped up veggies for my lunch side salad, I just save the remaining veggies for Monday's dinner!
Relax!! All of the hard work is done. Just grab the oats and lunch and have a great week.
Now give me YOUR tips on meal planning and prepping!
Do you use any other apps that I should know about?
What is your favorite cookbook or food blog?
linking up with WIAW!