Today I’m going to share with you how I meal plan monthly around specials in the shops. I have been doing this for so long now that I don’t think it would even occur to me to simply walk into a shop and buy whatever I want and whenever I want! Your grocery spending can be a huge drain on your finances each month (it certainly used to be in ours!) and planning meals around specials in the shops can be a great way to cut down on your total grocery bill for the month as well as help you keep this amount in check.


The “process” for monthly meal planning around specials is really very simple. I don’t have a lot of time on my hands but I make it a point to go through all the monthly specials each month (usually the ones just before the 25th of the month are the best), and I generally use the inserts in our copy of the Alberton Record. I always look at all the supermarket, butchery and greengrocer specials in our area as you never know what kind of awesome specials you might find! You can try using a local newspaper delivered in your area for this purpose or check out the app called Tindeo (for Android) – they have up to date specials on pretty much all the supermarkets chains in SA and more, or alternatively, have a look at individual supermarket catalogues of specials for the month (a quick Google search should give you what you’re looking for).


Also, remember to check out the Unilever Deals for available coupons that you can use that month as well as the Snap n Save app on your phone. Do you have any Smart Shopper points that you can use? Don’t forget to print your Smart Shopper points voucher before your start shopping at your local Pick ‘n’ Pay as well as to check if you have been given any personalised vouchers that you can print from the kiosk and use immediately. I also usually check if there are any 3 for 2 deals at Woolworths and what additional discounts are available for WRewards members, as well as what’s available from Checkers Eezi coupons and Spar Rewards.


So here’s what to do to start meal planning around specials each month.


Step 1


Always check what you have in your pantry and freezer first as well as fresh produce on the veggie rack. Do you have all the ingredients needed for a meal or several meals? From there on you can plan for the meals you would like to make during the month based on what you have in the pantry and freezer. This is a great way to use up some of the items at hand which means you will need to buy less that month.


Step 2


Are there any items in your pantry and freezer that you might need to top up for a meal or even better, several meals? Look at the specials for the month and check if any of the missing ingredients are on special then plan to buy those. Again, because you will be using some of the items you already have this means that you will need to buy less.


Step 3


Browse through the specials for the month. Are there any staples, proteins (meat) and vegetables that are on special that you could use for a meal? Or a bunch of meals? Then make a note and get those! Is there anything that you would like to buy at rock-bottom price to add to your stockpile (within budget)? Then take a note of those items too! All of this will definitely save you money on your grocery bill each month. I can’t imagine not shopping for food on specials – it really is a huge saving for us.


Click here to download your FREE printable:

Meal Planning Around Specials Shopping List.


Now what about the meals, you might ask? Any suggestions? Check out my post Meal Planning Ideas for a few helpful hints.


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