I have been telling myself all day that I need make a menu for the next two weeks. Therefore, I need to buy enough groceries for two weeks. Sometimes this is not that easy.
- Prices keep going up at the stores. Even Walmart.
- I still have to go back to the store to buy things like fruit and bread.
- Coupons flat out do not always work for me. (I buy what I need, not what the coupon is)
- My girls have hollow legs.
I have found that when I have a menu, and a list, I do not overspend. It is still ridiculous how much I spend on groceries. I bet more than half is spent on produce. This meat eater has little vegefruititarians.
When I first started meal planning, I did what I bet every mother has done. I googled meal planning or menu planning. There were so many results I was completely overwhelmed.
I started here. I could not believe that there were five meals worth of dinners in one grocery bag. It is broken up into different meat combos, and there is even one for healthy meal options. Only downside is the meal options very rarely change. I go back to this site when I do not want to take the time to create my own menu, or I know money is going to be tight. The whole website is worth taking some time to look through. I have found many a recipe here.
Then I was reading Dave Ramsay‘s website, and found this. For $5 a month, you can get a 7 day meal plan with sides planned out for you. There is even a grocery list included. The best part, it is catered to specific grocery stores. Not all specific chains of grocery stores are included, but there is an option for “any store”. I use the Walmart and Aldi options. These tend to be the two stores where I save the most money. They have options for gluten-free, and meals for two. The possibilities are endless. Your credit/debit card is charged $15.00 every three months for the service. A small price to pay for all the work being done for you. My children did not always like everything on the menu, so I would improvise. Remember, that the grocery list are for the menu plans only.
Recently, I found this website/blog. Make a week of meals in one setting. Sounds like a plan for me, except I enjoy cooking dinner in the evenings. It is my me time. You can get a sample menu on the site to see if it is something that would work for you. There are also great recipes.
These days, I go through my magazines, and search the internet for meal options for my menu planning. I have enough cooking experience under my belt to brainstorm most of it. I like to add something new each week. I am trying to create a broader palette in my children when it comes to food. I think I am succeeding.
For example, her was my menu for this week.
- Simple tacos
- Lemon parmesan spaghetti with fresh parsley – This was my new, and the whole family enjoyed it.
- Rotisserie Chicken – I always have a chicken on my menu because I can use the leftover for a few days.
The sides are pretty basic in my house. They are usually vegetables and a fruit. I am trying to cut down on my use of potatoes. I am a meat and potatoes girl. Mostly, I just make a salad, or a vegetable platter. My kids go nuts over that stuff.
I have found that meal planning keeps me from buying things we do not need. My pantry looks a little bare, but I have what I need for my meals. I also tend to plan out lunches and afternoon snacks to help out with the grocery budget. So far, it seems to be working well.
I find myself laughing when I am grocery shopping because I notice when the stores raise the prices on the products that I buy. When I was little, I always watched the Price is Right with my mom. I was in awe when she new all the prices of the products for the games. I have become that woman.
Do any of you meal plan? Do you make all your dinners in one day and freeze them? I am always looking for new options.
PS, none of these people, websites, or blogs know me from Adam. I am just a mommy looking for ways to decrease my grocery bill, and be a steward of my family’s money. This is not an advertisement. Happy day to you.