Thursday, January 27, 2011

Meal Planning

 Before you groan too much, remember I resist all things "inside the box" including (but definitely not limited to) meal planning, budgets, planning, time management and so much more. But I assure you, meal planning will save so much money, time and energy in the long run, it is so worth it!

 I am a true free spirit who likes to just go with the flow. However, that actually does not work in real life and when we are managing a household along with the rest of life, we must learn to budget, plan, manage time and more. I have learned that putting these things in my life, actually allows me to live with freedom (if that doesn't make sense, stay tuned and I will break it all down sometime).

Which brings me to: meal planning. I admit, coming up with dinner each night can be a chore. I have one child allergic to red dye and truly does not like anything with any red sauce type thing so no pizza, taco, spaghetti, and so on. Now, I refuse to be a short order cook so if someone doesn't like what is for dinner, they are welcome to a bowl of cereal or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. With that said, I do like to try for meals everyone will like and still stay in the budget.

I'll be totally honest here: our weekly budget for groceries (includes all cleaning and household products, beauty products and food) is $150.00 per week. It used to be impossible for me to stay with in that budget for a family of five. Then, I started learning about how to really use coupons and it made a world of difference.  I now have anywhere from $50.00-150.00 per month left in the grocery budget each month. I will be posting much more on this subject in the days to come so stay tuned.

Back to meal planning. Planning out my weekly has become pretty simple. I base most of it on what is on sale that week. I have done monthly meal planning  but that is just too overwhelming for me, so I stick to weekly. We usually have 1-2 meatless meals per week and 1 breakfast for dinner meal. We have sports 2-3 nights per week and church on Wednesday nights so those are either plan ahead meals, crockpot meals, or just super simple meal nights.

Here are some good ideas for cheap, easy meals:

This one has some good ideas too:

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