My Meal Planner. saving money and my sanity.
Every year I tell myself this year I will budget and save money. Every year I do well for a month and then the wheels fall off and I spend unnecessary money. This year this was not an option as I am now unemployed and a stay at home mom. Going from a duel income household to a single income household is a huge deal. We had to take a good hard look at our spending habits as a family, make an action plan and draw up a realistic budget. When I looked at my grocery bill at the end of the month, I was shocked at how much I spent! I was so disorganized that dinner was often bought at the last moment or there was nothing in the fridge, so we ended up eating takeout.
The easiest place for me to start our saving journey was with our grocery bill. I have started to put together a weekly Meal Planner and putting it up on the fridge. Each Weekday meal is plotted out and what we will be eating.
The Meal planner has allowed me to be more organized. I check what ingredients I have in the pantry and deep freeze, then organize meals around what I already have. This stops me from buying products I already have and wasting money.
Example : Tuesday
Breakfast: Oats and Apple with cinnamon
Lunch: Chicken salad
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese
From the Meal Planner I draw up a shopping list of what I will need for the week.
I only buy what is on the shopping list. By using a shopping list, I am less tempted to add unneeded items to my basket. Subsequently I am spending less time in the Grocery store walking aimlessly through the aisles being tempted by all the sweet treats.
Less Stress and more creativity:
One would think that a meal plan makes you lose your creative flair for food but I have found the opposite has happened. I have recently ignited my love of cooking and creating dishes for my family. Pick N Pay's Fresh Living Magazine has been a huge help, as they have some great budget family recipes that are easy to follow.
I’m loving not having to think “OH goodness what’s for dinner?”
I can plan my day, take the meat out to defrost or remember to soak the lentils the night before.
My husband likes this idea of the meal planner as he now knows what to expect each evening for dinner. He also like snot getting last minute phone calls “ can you get eggs and milk” every evening on his way home from work
Less Food Wastage:
There is less food wastage in my household as fruit and veg don’t go off before we eat it. I’m shopping for specials and visiting factory shops such as the Elgin Chicken Shop. If they have a great special on Chicken Breasts then I will plan 2 or 3 meals with chicken that week.
Nude Shopping and using less plastic: A side effect of buying only what I need is that I’m buying exact amounts of what I need. This allows me to buy 3 tomatoes that I know I will use. I have started to take my own reusable fresh produce bags to get fruit and vegetables.
I don’t go to the Grocery store with my daughter. Emily will beg for chips and items not on the shopping list. I also don’t shop when I’m hungry.
The meal Planner has shown me that we have a very high red meat and carb intake in my house. I am now creating a more balanced diet and ensuring my family gets more fruit and vegetables in their diet. Mondays are Meat free Monday. This is when I experiment with a vegan or vegetarian dish.
The Meal planner is a small step to bigger life changes. Do you have a Meal plan for your home and do you find it helps?