Plan meals and save money doing it

January 27, 2011 3:15:56 PM PST
What's for dinner? If you are like many people, you probably don't have any idea. But we're going to help you not only plan your meals, but save money doing it.

Meal planning websites are growing in popularity and some of them are free. The great thing about them is they help you stick to a list - ultimately saving you money and stress.

Blogger Brenda Thompson is always looking for quick, healthy and inexpensive options to feed her family. That's why she blogs about it on

"Just learning ways to save money and time in the kitchen and not have that 'What's for dinner?' question at the end of the night," Thompson said.

She also gets help from free meal planning websites like, and her favorite,

"It's an online meal planning service, and what's unique about it is that it will take sale prices from any grocery store that you choose," Thompson said. works like this: Choose your grocery store and your favorite foods, specifically proteins like chicken or beef. From there, the website will match your favorite foods with sales that are going on at your grocery store.

"It will pull up a whole bunch of recipes and you can choose different recipes from their resources and then you choose your recipe," Thompson said.

Finally, a grocery list is instantly compiled based on the recipes you choose.

"You can either download it to print it out; you can have it sent to your phone," Thompson said.

Sounds simple enough, but is it? We decide to put it to the test.

We chose our favorite sale items and picked our recipe. Then we went off the grocery store with our list. Our main ingredient was boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and according to they were $1.97 a pound. When we went to the grocery store, they are on sale for that price.

We picked up our other items for our recipe like sausage, one tomato, a bell pepper, an onion and frozen peas.

So then we put the recipe to the test. Is it really easy?

We followed our recipe, chopping, dicing and sautéing. Thirty minutes later, we had our Spanish style chicken and sausage. The total cost of our meal was $10.63 and our dinner could have fed up to eight people.