Busy Mom’s Budget Friendly Meal Planning Secrets


Eating out is expensive and usually not healthy, but finding the time for meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking is not easy for anyone. Busy is the norm for families these days, with working parents and kids activities in the evenings and on the weekends. It’s no longer a treat to eat out like it was when I was a kid. It’s become almost a necessity in order to survive the crazy schedules we all have.

When we decided, as a family, to focus on turning our finances around, cutting out unnecessary expenses and becoming debt free, we realized our biggest budget leak was food. I knew that eating at home would save us a lot of money, but I struggled to come up with dinner ideas. I also wanted meals that would be easy and quick to fix, healthy, and the kids would actually eat.

We also knew that it would be a good investment in our family. The benefits of family dinners would extend way beyond the savings. Our best conversations happened at the dinner table on the nights we ate at home and there have been tons of studies done on how family dinners promote healthy eating as well as help kids academically and socially.

After a little searching I found some meal planning websites that offered inexpensive weekly menu plans, grocery lists, and preparation instructions for yummy healthy, quick dinners. I’m rounding them up for you and including links to their free sample recipes!

Enjoy! :)


P.S. These subscriptions would also make great gifts for any mom if you’re looking for an easy and affordable gift idea!

Meal Planning Subscription Services:

emeals offers weekly meals and shopping lists for every taste based on family size. Shopping lists are also coordinated with sales at the grocery store you’ve chosen!

  • Price: $5-7
  • Sample Menu (Click on each meal plan for a sample menu)
Relish gives you the choice of which recipes you want each week. You build your own menu by selecting the recipes and side dishes that look good to you.

The Six O’Clock Scramble is an online family dinner planner for busy parents that takes the Scramble out of 6:00 with a weekly dinner plan & grocery list delivered right to your email inbox or phone!

Saving Dinner offers Menu Mailer, a weekly menu subscription which includes a weekly shopping list divided by area of store to make shopping easy. They also offer the premium menu mailer option, which gives you the ability to swap out recipes (from 12 years of menu mailer recipes) and change serving sizes for certain meals if you will be entertaining.

eatathomecooks offers done for you weekly meal plans and color coded grocery lists, making it easy to swap out or eliminate meals without making a whole new grocery list! There are also a bunch of crock pot recipes for those busy nights you don’t have time to cook!

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