How to Meal Plan Your Week in 5 Minutes (and Save Money Too)

You can plan an entire week's meals in just 5 minutes and save money with this genius tool. Every busy mom should try this!

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I was in the grocery store when I realized I needed meal planning help. Standing in frozen foods, staring at my list. I had already gotten most of the essentials - milk, toilet paper, coffee - and one word was glaring at me from the page. Dinner. That's all I had written. Dinner.

This wasn't like me. Usually I have all our meals planned for the week and my shopping list prepared with everything I would need, but this week, I had nothing. No idea what to make or what to buy. If I didn't get some meal planning help soon we were going to eat frozen pizza every night.

I managed to get through that week with only one pizza night, but I vowed to find some meal planning help right away. I finally found the perfect solution and now I'm breezing through the grocery aisles, detailed list in hand, with more time and extra money to stop for a latte before the school pick up.

Are you stuck staring at a blank grocery list too? Keep reading - I've got you covered.

Make a meal plan for the entire week in just 5 minutes and save tons of money! Get a weekly custom meal plan based on your preferences and your store's sales with this tool. It pays for itself in the first week! LOVE this idea - every busy mom should try it out! #menuplan #mealplan #weeklymenu #mealplanning

Meal Planning for the Week - the Old Way

I've been meal planning for years, and I've always used the same approach. I grab my recipe & meal planning binder and the Sunday grocery circular, and start with what's on sale at my local store. Then I flip through my recipes or browse on Pinterest and plan out each day's dinner, using as many sale items as I could. Simple enough, but here's the thing. It seemed like it was taking forever and I'm writing down the same meals over and over. Or giving up and ending up with a half finished list at the store.

I was ready to get some help, but I was skeptical. I've tried several online meal planning sites in the past and never found one that worked. They were usually too expensive and full of meals that my family wouldn't enjoy. Until now. I've found the perfect fit for us, that's right in line with our tastes and budget, and so flexible that I know it will work for you too.

Making a Meal Plan in Just 5 Minutes

After checking out a lot of meal planning sites, I decided to give The Dinner Daily a try. After all, with a 14 day free trial, I had nothing to lose. The premise was awesome - The Dinner Daily works just like my meal planning strategy by giving you easy weeknight meals based on your grocery store's sales that week - and it does all the work for you.

**Update: I have been a paying customer of The Dinner Daily for 2 years now and I still love it as much as I did when I first wrote this post. I use it every single week. Read on to see why!**

Here's how it works: when you sign up, you choose whether you want meals for couples or a family of 4. Then pick your preferences - there are several to choose from, including vegetarian, no red meat, no seafood, etc. Finally, you pick your grocery store. You can also choose "any store" if yours is not on the list. 

That's it. Each week, you'll receive a customized email with 5 meals based on your store's sales, plus an itemized shopping list and links to coupons for even more savings.

Seriously, you just print it out and your meal planning is done.

Pretty awesome, right? But you might be thinking (as I was) - my family can be kind of particular. What if I don't like one (or more) of the meals? Here's where The Dinner Daily completely rocks my world - it is totally flexible and customizable.

You can log in to your Dinner Daily dashboard anytime and change your meals - and your shopping list will automatically update too. You can also choose to exclude meals from the list. Since my kids are small, we pretty much always have leftovers. So I only plan to cook 3-4 times a week. I can remove any meals I don't want to make that week and print out a new shopping list. You can also make changes to both the main meals and side dishes individually - if you don't like salmon for example, just hit the change button and pick something else. Brilliant!

And you have access to all the meal plans for all stores all the time. This is perfect for me because I shop at more than one store depending on where my other errands are taking me each week, and I can still be flexible and save money.

The meals are easy to make, healthy, and delicious. There's a good mix of slow cooker meals (which you know I love) and quick (30 minutes or less) favorites. My husband and kids have both raved about our new dinner selections and I love that we're eating healthy meals without the headache of planning them.

Plus I'll let you in on a little secret - The Dinner Daily pays for itself. The annual plan works out to less than $1 a week - and by planning based on that week's sales, you'll easily cover the cost and then some.

Grab your free 2 week trial of the Dinner Daily today, you won't be disappointed! You can cancel anytime if you're not satisfied. Be sure to check out the bonus make ahead meals and dinner party plans too.

Keep Those Recipes Organized

My recipe & meal planning organizer is the perfect companion to your Dinner Daily subscription! Use the weekly meal planning page to write out which recipes you'll be doing each night and hang it on the refrigerator. Then I use the blank divider page to create a section in the front of my recipe binder for "this week's meals." I use a second blank divider after that for previous weeks' recipes, in case we want to make them again. Check it out here.

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