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Want an easy way to slash your food bill? Here is the ultimate guide to easy meal planning that will have eating well without having to become a chef!

Can you guess one of the biggest expenses for couples?

Besides housing and transportation, food is typically a huge chunk of the budget.

Most couples I know want to eat well, but they may be limited with their budget or their time.

If you're not a fan of making elaborate meals after a long day of work, but you do want to have delicious and healthy dinners, meal planning can be the ticket.

What is Meal Planning?

Meal planning, as the name suggests, is about having a menu prepared for future meals. That's it.

It's so versatile – you two can adjust based on your budget, dietary needs, schedule, and personality. I know some couples prepare their meals a

I know some couples prepare their meals a month ahead while others do it week by week.

Meal planning can save you valuable time when you get your dinners ready early. Some other big benefits include:

  • fewer trips to the grocery store
  • getting deals on when buying in bulk
  • less likely to get things that can upset your budget

Setting aside time once a week or month to prepare meals means that during hectic weeknights all you have to do is heat up dinner.

Shopping Lists and Meals

The great news is that it is easy and simple to come up with meal plans.

If you're not one to sit down and write things out, I have several meal plans here from food and family bloggers that cover various tastes and diets.

If you're not one to sit down and write things out, I have several meal plans here from food and family bloggers that cover various tastes and diets.

I tried to choose meal plans that allow you to ‘cook once, eat twice' so you're not slaving in the kitchen on your cook prep night.

Budget-Friendly Meal Plans

While most of the meal plans I found were frugal, there were some all -stars that kept things delicious even on a tight budget.

Gluten-Free Meal Plans

You can enjoy a variety of gluten free meals and stick with your budget with these meal plans.

Vegetarian Meal Plans

I picked these meal plans because they were filling and had some incredibly delicious recipes.

Slow Cooker Meal Plans

I'm a slow cooker fan (with two kids under 5 I want easy), so I tend to gravitate towards those recipes.  These meal plans take the hassle out of cooking and still give you some incredible meals.

Thoughts on Easy Meal Planning

Have you ever tried meal planning? How did it go? What are some of your favorite resources to get new ideas?

This post was originally published in September 2017. It has been updated in August 2020.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

2 comments add your comment

  1. Good advice. This is something I’ve been meaning to get back on. I definitely spend a heap more money at the grocery store without a meal plan. And as I have to provide lunches for two hungry mouths every day, having a meal that has leftovers (i.e. planned) is paramount to me.

  2. Slow cooking is great! My wife and I got a slow cooker a few months ago, and prepare meals in big ziploc bags and then freeze them. Later, we thaw them in the fridge overnight and dump them into the programmable slow cooker the next morning. It takes some trial and error to figure out which meals you like the best, but it’s definitely worth it.