Tuesday, April 30, 2013

#74. Meal Planning - Success!!

You guys, I've been trying to find an efficient method to meal plan for almost 3 years. I tried monthly (but I would inevitably lose the list, or forget, or food would go bad). I tried magnets (I'd forget to buy certain ingredients). I tried both premade and homemade. Literally, nothing worked for me. Inevitably, we would get lazy and go out to eat. Or, make other things, and then not have ingredients for other things later. Or make a frozen pizza. It was a miserable failure.

I think a huge part of it was that I thought it was very stressful to not only pick meals but to also write down all of the ingredients, figure out what I did or didn't have, and then go shopping. Planning my meals was making my life stressful and complicated, rather than simple like it promised.

Until now.

I'm a pretty avid reading of Feeding the Soil. It's a great little blog about a family that's trying to get the most out of life while spending the least amount of money, and helping their community grow in the process. I don't always agree with everything, but I love some of the ideas she has. She recently posted a meal plan grocery list that her and her husband set up, and it clicked with me.

(my grocery sheet)

I took a night or two to enter in all of my meals/ingredient (she'll email you a pre-loaded menu, but it's vegetarian which doesn't jive for us), and I was done. I used meals that we were already familiar with, and "lazy day" meals. I love that it has a place for staples, which we buy weekly. I can select the meals, and I have the ingredients right there. I can print them off if I want. I'm doing really well at only going to the grocery store once a week, and spending anywhere from $50-70 dollars. On weeks where we spend less because we have stocks of things, I buy extra staples to stash away. I put everything on there from breakfast for dinner to crockpot meals to frozen pizza. And, we're saving money. We haven't had it in place long enough to have cleaned out our pantry, but a lot of that is because we're snackers that need stuff for lunches and mid-afternoon starvation attacks. :) It's super easy. I think I'm in love.

Seriously. If you're struggling with meal planning, this is totally worth a shot.

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