School started back up last week and while mentally I was beyond prepared and ready to get back to a normal schedule, it turns out that realistically, I had slowed down significantly over the break and felt like I was hit by a MAC truck after the first day! One of the things I had failed to plan for was…food. I hadn’t planned out meals for the week, nor did I do enough grocery shopping to get us through dinners, school snacks, and lunches for work. I shared my struggle on social media and my social media tribe came to the rescue. Cue: Meal Planning.
While I have meal planned in the past, meal planning for me seems to work much like working out for most of the world’s population. You do it for a month, but eat out enough times during the month, and everything goes out the window. Well, this time, I’m determined. I managed to meal plan most of 2018, so I somewhat have the hang of it now, but have some new resources that I think make me a meal-planning ninja!
A dear friend of mine reached out and said, “Have you tried meal planning this way??” and sent me a printable, fillable PDF to play with. I was intrigued. She shared this post with me, and WHOA. Hello, epiphany! While I’ve heard of and practiced meal planning before (let’s all acknowledge my triumphs of 2018), I hadn’t really thought about it in the context of saving money. I mean, DUH! It only made complete sense once I read through the article, but now I’m consciously thinking about it and implementing meal-planning as a money-saving practice.
So, I took action. For months, perhaps YEARS (2 at most), I have had this menu planning board sitting at our coffee station.
It literally JUST.SAT.THERE. Doing absolutely nothing! I have commitment issues when it comes to altering things around the house, so I didn’t necessarily want to commit to chalk or chalboard markers on this board. Thus, I did the next best thing: I ran to Target and bought narrow Post-It notes, and went to town with a black Sharpie. Done.
Not bad! I grocery shop Saturdays or Sundays, so I haven’t yet figured out what’s happening meal-wise this weekend, but I’ll likely give it some thought Friday night or Saturday morning, until I get into a routine. This week’s menu was based on things we already had in the fridge and or things that I knew I could make based on what I had in the pantry. Shockingly, based on my inventory, and using the tips suggested by The Budget Mom, all I bought this weekend were 4 cans of pinto beans, 3 cans of black beans, a bottle of creamer (which btw has saved me a ton since I no longer go to Starbucks before work every morning), and a gallon of milk. THAT’S IT. For the whole week!! I’m SHOOK.
That efficiency and low-budget grocery shopping prompted me to organize my snack drawers and pantry pronto. It helped get rid of items that were expired or near expiration, and remind me of recipes that I’d planned to try that hadn’t gotten around to trying. Y’all, I am in it to win it.
I have a board on Pinterest for recipes, and in case you’re wondering, YES, I have a board on Pinterest for almost every facet of my life. I plan to draw inspiration from that board, but also work with the meals that I know my family loves. On Friday’s we love to have pizza. Little Caesar’s pizza is only $5, the kid’s love it, and it’s one of the “healthiest” pizza’s out there to eat. Winning on all fronts here, friends!
Ernieways, I’m super pumped about this. We’re trying to live more eco-friendly lives at home (more on that to come), but also be more mindful about our money and budget. Here’s to doing that and more in 2019!