Monday, December 12, 2011

Modest Mondays...its in the plan

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Meal planning is wonderful for a multitude of reasons...but money saving is a big one of those.  One of the first things I realized when I started to scrutinize where our money was going every month was that we were spending entirely too much on dining out and impromptu grocery trips.

I *try* to do meal planning every week...honestly, if I didn't we'd either be dining out or eating bologna sandwiches every night (i kid...i can't even remember the last time i had bologna).  I get flustered when I get home and realize we don't have a game plan for dinner...which is no good for anyone in my house.  So...to help resolve that issue I set a menu at the beginning of the week and do my grocery shopping around that.  I look at the sale ads (even though we do the bulk of our grocery shopping at the beloved Trader Joes and they don't do sale ads...they give you the bottom line price from the get go:)), check our cabinets, and talk to the hubs about what we haven't had in awhile and if there is anything in particular he might be jonesing for...oh, and of course I check out what's on Pinterest.  I try to buy single ingredients that I can use in multiple meals...especially with fresh herbs in the winter (during the summer I can get those jokers from the garden which is a major reason why I love having a garden).  Basil and cilantro cost more than a gallon of gas these days and that's saying a lot...SO, I generally make sure that if I have one dish I'm using it in I can find something else to incorporate it in (behold the power of Pinterest...you can search for this stuff y'all!).  And even simple things like fresh french bread with spaghetti one night and that same bread as croutons for the next night's salad.  Black beans are another favorite of mine...they work well in chili, on top of a salad, or in a burrito..but you usually don't use a whole can at once and I hate to waste stuff so I just incorporate it in to a few things.  We keep the plan flexible at our house so that if we just aren't feeling what we've got slated for that particular night we can switch it with something later in the week.  That being said, I also try to plan around what will make a lot of leftovers (behold the power of casseroles and crock pot meals) and what's just good for one night (fried fish just isn't as good the second time around) and alternate those out so that we have leftovers to take for lunch...more savings there because then you don't have to dine out for lunch or fork over extra cash at the store for lunch stuff.  I'm not much of a couponer...I'm pretty ashamed to admit it but I haven't been able to devote the week in and week out time it requires to build up a stash that's well organized so I can take full advantage...but I hear that that makes this whole meal planning business even better.  And...if you're looking for some super cute ideas on how to do organize your meal planning...mine is usually on the back of a legal pad...check out Pinterest...I've seen a ton of cute stuff dedicated to ways to make meal planning mindless and even a little fun!

I'd love to hear from y'all on how you do it in your house or other ways you save money on the food part of the monthly spend...I'm always looking for ideas to do this better!!

J

12 comments:

Mrs. Mama said...

we just recently started doing the same thing. in fact, i whipped out my erin condren desk calendar thingy that i just put up on the fridge {it's weekly} and we write out the meal plans on that...its a work in progress... but i LOVE this idea!

Samantha said...

this is SUCH a great idea. I really have to start forcing myself to do it more often.

btw... LOVE the new look ;)

Traci said...

I also meal plan at our house. I hate not knowing what I'm going to make for dinner. Before I know it, it's 5:30 and I just order pizza or take out. Meal planning has helped us stick to our grocery budget. I usually only plan 4-5 meals per week and count on left overs or pizza for the other nights.

Natalie said...

Love the new blog look! I do try to meal plan as well. Most of what I make does have leftovers so my husband does take them for lunch or we have them the next night. Nothing better than having dinner already done! I do coupon, but I can't say that I meal plan around it. I guess b/c I never really find great deals on meat unless it chicken which I do stock up on.

Melissa at Tall Blonde said...

Such a great idea and I have every intention of meal planning after the 1st of the year, especially with Pinterest. We suck at budgeting our meals. We don't eat out much, but definitely fall under the impromptu grocery trips multiple times a week.

Love the new layout by the way :)

Paige said...

I envy you! I try so hard to plan meals and shop smart, but it just doesn't always work. Maybe it's because I hate eating and thinking about food. It's such a pain! I know - I'm crazy! My resolution for the new year is to be really mindful of this. You go momma!

Ashley said...

Every single week I say I am going to do this and then I don't. The issue is that I get off of work at 6, don't get home until 6:30 and the twins need to eat before that so it is pointless for me to cook for myself. We eat out way too much. It will be my new year's resolution to knock that off. The only time we have homecooked meals is if it comes from the crock pot!

Laura @ My Thoughts-Uninterrupted said...

I always do a weekly meal plan too...mostly because I hate going to the store more than once a week, but I've been trying to find more budget friendly ideas and I love your point of trying to reuse things throughout the week.

BTW did I mention I joined Mint.com thanks to you? I'm loving it.

Faith said...

this is such a great post!
idk how long i've wanted to do a meal plan! i thought two weeks sounds good but i can't even get past one week in planning and following thru! how do you freakin' do it with your job?? i really need to buckle down in 2012 and get on this whole domesticated business lol...

Leah said...

If I didn't do a meal plan, we'd be eating out every. single. night!

wallacefamilyblog said...

this is something that we are trying so hard to get better at and its so hard this time of year with so much going on and not being home.

Great post-just a reminder of what I need to get busy working at:)

Sarah said...

We are VERY similar in our strategy to menu planning. I too plan a menu and then do our shopping after looking through the cabinets. We also keep it flexible! I've found some great meal ideas on Pinterest too!