Frugal Meal Planning W/Ashtin Cope – EP 149

Food is often our biggest area of budget busts! The solution begins with our meal planning and how we go about grocery shopping. On this episode Ashtin gives us some simple and attainable tips for how we can meal plan effectively and save money on our groceries each week.


  • Meal planning services: They are a great way to break up the meal planning monotony. And you don’t need to rely completely on using a service long term vs doing your own meal planning. Meal planning services have quarterly memberships that are the perfect way to give yourself a break when you need it or save yourself money when you don’t
  • Free trial: They are so great right? As long as you remember to cancel before your card gets charged but even if you don’t they’re usually still very nice about refunding you when you ask. I know dis. So here’s one for you to try. EMeals. eMeals is a meal planning service we haven’t talked much about but a lot of you guys use it and love them and they have a free trial so head to to get 14 days of meal planning for free and if you decide to get a subscription your purchase will support the show at no extra cost to you.

Check out these episodes for more on meal planning:

Ep 16 Meal Planning and Prep Tips

Ep 79 The Frugal Friends Food Blog Awards

Notable Notes:

We enjoyed asking Ashtin all her tips:

  • Tell us about yourself and how you got into meal planning? 
    • Love budget lifestyle
    • Started a blog (budget fashion, home reno, food planning)
  • You do custom meal planning, what are some tips you’d give a client whose main goal is to reduce their spending on food?
    • HAVE A PLAN – don’t go to grocery store blindly
    • Do prep work before going to store
    • Use search terms ‘budget meal ideas’ + ‘affordable week night ideas’
    • Narrow down ingredients you will eat during the week
      • 2 proteins
      • 3-4 veggies
  • What are some of your go-to ways to reduce your food waste?
    • Know what you most time sensitive ingredients are and use them first
    • Organize pantry and fridge – take inventory weekly
    • When in doubt just freeze it
  • For those of us who don’t like cooking, what are some tips to follow through with our meal plan?
    • Limited effort recipes
    • Search simple, easy, fast when looking for recipes
    • Crock-pot, sheet pan (10min meals, 1 pot dinners)
  • How long does it take to meal plan?
    • 20-30min to meal plan per week
    • Monthly calendar template
    • Routine hacks: meatless Monday, creative Wednesday, Taco Tuesday, easy Thursday, Saturday celebrate (something tasty)

BILL OF THE WEEK –  Thank you Ashtin for sharing your bill about lowering your electric bill by minimizing window drafts

If you want to submit your bill of the week visit to leave us a bill

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Lightning Round

Current fav freezer meal

  • Ashtin- sweet potato black bean soup; served with cheese quesadilla (white potatoes don’t freeze as well)
  • Jill- frozen fruit; breaded chicken cutlets
  • Jen- jambalaya, indian food (curry, chicken tikka masala – use frozen meat in these ‘casserole’ type dishes)

Get more from Ashtin at:


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