How to Plan Ahead for Next Week’s Meals and Save Money

A Step-By-Step Guide to Grocery Store Savings

Step 1: Take inventory

Take a look at what you already have, especially if it needs to be used or there is a risk of it spoiling.  Make a list of these items in categories (i.e. proteins, produce, dried goods, seasonings, etc.)

Step 2: Find the sales

One of the most important step is to get an ad from your grocery store – or perhaps from two or three local grocery stores. There are a lot of ways to get these – in a local newspaper, in the mail, or online, for starters. I usually download the flyer from the website of the grocery stores I visit most often.

Once you have the ads, go through them and mark any sales on ingredients that they have that you know you and your family would enjoy (make sure to include the price, as you may find it cheaper at another store).

Step 3: Do Some Recipe Research

Browse through your recipes and search out the ones that will utilize these items. If you need more recipe ideas, go online, there is an endless amount of healthy, easy recipes that you could try!*  These ideas provide the backbone for several meals throughout the week, so I start planning ahead!

Step 4: Create a Week-Long Meal Plan

Start out with a blank meal planner, or just a sheet of paper. Start with dinners based on the recipes you have chosen. For most, breakfasts are usually quite simple and lunches usually consist of leftovers, so these require less planning.

Try to make most weeknight meals pretty easy.  I find that saving the more difficult meals for the weekend usually works out best.  Also, take into consideration each day individually and the time you will have to prepare food.  For instance, if you get off of work at 3 but on Thursdays your children have sports practice and you won’t be home until 6, you may consider doing something extremely easy like a crockpot meal on Thursdays.

Step 5: Make a Shopping List from the Meal Plan

Once the meal plan is in place, go through and list all of the ingredients for all of the recipes making tally marks next to the things you will need more than one of.  Then, cross off the things you already have. This will save you money by not buying something you already have.

This is a good time to check the staples – flour, milk, yeast, juice boxes, and so on – and add replenishments to the list.  Keeping a go-to list of things you always use is very helpful as you can go down the list and easily make note of what needs replenishing.

Step 6: Go Grocery Shopping – And Stick to Your List

Once you have the list in place, it’s simple. Take it to the grocery store and stick to it. Don’t toss stuff that’s not on your list into the cart. Since you’ve already planned your meals, you know that you don’t need it.

Using this path will also make grocery shopping itself substantially quicker. Most of your purchases will be around the edges of the store, in the produce and meat sections. You won’t have to go up and down every aisle to find the items you need.

In the end, though, when you go home, unpack your groceries, and put that meal plan up on the fridge, you’ll find that overall it hasn’t taken you any more time than a grocery trip without planning would have taken, plus you now have a clear plan for meals for the week and you’ve saved significant money at the grocery store.

Good luck!*Once you decide to try a new recipe, decide if it’s one you would do again, mark on it if there are changes you would make.  If you would do it again, add it to your “tried and true recipes” if you didn’t care for it, make sure you throw it away so that you don’t accidently make it again.

Fish Marinade


  • 2 plan servings of any type fish
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 t fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 t fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1 T Lemon juice
  • 2 T Light olive oil


Mix garlic, herbs, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil together and pour over fish. Marinate for 1 hour covered in refrigerator. Remove fish from marinade and wrap in foil. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. (Bake time may vary depending on thickness of fish fillet used)

Makes 2 servings, each serving counts as: 1 protein, 1 condiment


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  • one free tranquility room visit

For every friend that joins with this special, you will receive ONE MONTH FREE*!

Not a VIP member yet? Purchase your VIP membership in February and receive all of the above plus:

  • 5 passes to Club Northwest for you or a friend
  • 4 passes to Kid Zone for you or a friend
  • 1 small smoothie from The Juice Company inside Club Northwest

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1/2 T Extra virgin coconut oil
1 C Steel cut oats
2 C water
1 1/2 C fat free milk
2 ripe medium bananas mashed

In a large pan melt oil. Add oats and toast until they give off a nutty smell. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan bring water and milk to a boil (med-high heat, stirring occasionally so you don’t scorch the milk). Add oats and mashed bananas, bring back to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered 25-30 minutes, until oats are cooked and smooth.
Makes 5 3/4 cup servings, each serving counts as: 1 once daily starch, 1/2 fruit and 1/2 dairy

Start out the New Year with a plan!

Here are some ideas to make 2015 the best year ever!!

Another New Year means more New Year’s resolutions right?  How long will they last, 3 months, two months, 3 weeks?  Research shows that out of over 40% of Americans that make resolutions every New Year, only 4% actually succeed!  Why?

All too often resolutions are made in haste, without a real plan, or even tangible results and outcomes.  This year, make a plan, be specific and write it down.  Better yet, don’t just make a resolution, make a plan, in black and white… actions steps to follow, a map for each month of the year so-to-speak; after all, the root of the word resolution is resolve, and to resolve means to decide firmly on a course of action.

So, before you “resolve” to lose weight, or to “quit smoking”, “save money” or “improve your relationship with somebody”, make a plan, tangible items, a list that you can “complete”.  Here are some ideas of what you might think about including on that list:

1.  Expand your thinking with new experiences

Each month of the year for 30 days, commit to doing something new that you have thought about doing, but have not done, and notice how it affects your life.  Some possibilities:

Do aerobic exercise for 30 minutes every day.  Listen to only positive music.  Don’t read the newspaper/watch the news.  Stop watching television.  Get eight hours of sleep every night.  Meditate for 10 minutes a day. Take dance lessons.  Write a hand-written thank-you note to someone every day.  Plan your next day’s schedule every day and prioritize a to-do-list.  Drink 10 glasses of water….  The possibilities are endless!

2.  Write one letter a month to people in your life to let them know what they mean to you.

3.  Make a commitment to fitness.

Don’t just make a resolution and then join a fitness center that you won’t see after February, make a commitment and build fitness into your schedule.  Find support and counseling as well as nutrition and accountability (Hey! That sounds like the new well!)

4.  Invest in a bright future.

Start a savings account and commit to adding to it every pay day.  Look at it as another bill and make out deposit slips for every payday.  Pay that bill just like you do your other bills.

5.  Increase your awareness of your thoughts.

Become aware of what leaves your mouth by recording what you say for at least an hour every day for the entire month.  Words have power!  When you listen carefully to your language, you will know whether or not you are moving with momentum and purpose toward your vision.  You will become empowered to purposefully choose language that inspires and empowers you to realize your goals.  Holding yourself to a higher standard in your choice of language is key to achieving consistent outstanding results. 

6.  Get a whole new hairstyle, cut or color.

7.  Schedule time with family.

It’s sometimes hard with so many busy schedules, to find time to spend with family.  It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, schedule time twice a week to play a game, go to the park, have a picnic or go get an ice cream.

8.  Plan a trip to a place you have always wanted to go.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t go for five years!!  Pick a destination, a date and start planning and saving.  Be specific, figure cost and work backward to determine how much per month you will need to save to do this.  Then, make a reservation!

9.  Schedule a regular date night with your spouse once a week.

We all know how important that time alone is between a husband and a wife, but all too often it gets put on the back burner.  If you start now and put it in your schedule, you will be sure to improve your relationship in 2015!

Some other random things to consider putting on your plan for 2015:  Clean out your closet/garage and donate what you don’t need to charity.  Schedule all of your doctor’s and dentist appointments for the year.  Cut up your credit cards.  Do something that scares you (step out of your comfort zone).

Whatever your plan is, make it a good one!  Put aside some time to plan it and write it down.  You may want to consider consulting your spouse and children about it.  Whatever you come up with, make it a great year in 2015!