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May 3, 2013 / tyandolivia

Meal Planning – What a Novel Idea

Last week, Ty gently reminded me I had a whole $40 left in our grocery budget.

This was not news to me. He had left Mint.com up on my computer that morning (coincidence?) and I had seen exactly how much money I’d already spent that month on food and household items. Ty loves Mint.com. He loves budgeting.

Like most Americans, I love having money and also buying everything I want. It’s good I married Ty.

Anyway, $40 is a lot, right? I thought I may actually be able to come in under budget this month considering we already had leftovers in the fridge and some frozen meat in the freezer. All I needed was to pick up a couple items and then I’d be good for the rest of the week.

Wrong. Somehow all of these other necessary items jumped in my cart and I’d spent $46 and still didn’t know what we’d be eating this week.

That is what led me to actually write out a meal plan for the following week. I didn’t stick to it exactly as our schedule changed, but overall it worked really well. I didn’t come in under budget but I came in right where I was supposed to.

So this month, I am going to write out a meal plan for the month. No, I won’t spend 6 hours in one weekend to make and freeze 46 crock pot meals (what the what?!) and I won’t stick to the plan like a drill sergeant. But it will give me a chance to actually buy what we need and may even lead to some tasty meals.

The truth is, I’ve become bored with our meals and with cooking. I have a stead supply of chicken thighs, chicken breasts and ground beef coming out of my freezer and while those three staples have never let me down, my imagination is running out of meals that are easy to make and don’t require an extra trip to the store for that one key ingredient I don’t already have.

Hence the lack of blog posts.

Anyway, just by planning out the meals for a week, I saw that I can be creative and frugal. Rather than waking up, pulling something out of the freezer and hoping it morphs into a meal by the time Ty gets home, I actually have a meal I want to eat and the ingredients to make them.

This is not a novel idea. I know my mother did this, but I’m just now getting it. Here are a few meals I see in our future for May:

  • Salmon with mango salsa
  • Fish tacos
  • Shrimp with…something
  • Ribs
  • Chicken wings
  • Ty’s mom’s white bean soup (upon request)

I’m excited about these meals. I’m learning I don’t have to eat boring food just to save money but rather planning my meals will keep me within my budget.

Everyone wins!

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One Comment

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  1. codeterra / May 4 2013 1:50 am

    As a working mom of 3 young ones, I too struggle with meal planning. I am currently working on a web tool that helps me make it easier. Try it if you like (currently in Beta), I would love to know if it helps you and your family. Contact me at terra@mealspring.com if you would like more info -mealspring.com

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