I am holding another favourite things giveaway this week and this one is so so handy I hope it makes your life a little easier!!! I have teamed up with Victoria Senges to give one of our lucky instagram followers a meal planner that I use ALL. THE. TIME! It not only is super practical, but super cute as well! Not a meal planner ? No problem you will be after following a few of my super simple tricks below, which help me and my family stay on track health and budget wise.
Okay so I have been on the Meal Planning kick for a while and I must admit it is not something I love to do but….. It really has been such a great habit. It was a new years resolution to try and cut down the grocery bill a bit and get organized. I started out with small baby steps and now have a good grove and have manages to cut down our monthly grocery bill by an average of 300 dollars!! Now it took a little leg work to begin with but now its like clockwork and really dent take more then a few minutes a week.
Here are a few easy hints that has helped me stick to it and helped me save some cash.
1)First I started compiling a whole list of meals I could think of and kept it handy so when another meal came to mind I jotted it down anything from spaghetti to tuna sandwiches. Any meal simple or complex I added it.
2) Then I started to plan out my weeks, keeping my schedule in mind activities if I was out all day and eventually got to a point where I would rate the days business on a scale of 1-3. 1=Nothing planned for the day 2= an activity or appointment or two but still time to do basic prepping 3= its a crazy day need something quick and easy. Then I rated my food list the same way. 1=pretty intensive meal prep or time consuming 2= standard prep simple recipes don’t generally involve recipes 3= quick pre made meals or super simple quick recipes
3) When I first started I didn’t go planning crazy I just plans a meal or two a week then moved to monday-friday planning. I now plan the whole month excluding most weekends. Now I do know a few ladies who work on a 6 week cycle of recipes but I think thats a little to far out for me at the moment.
How did I start saving money doing this? Well its just naturally started cutting down the bill with the plan but then I started a few other habits which really made the difference.
When I planned my meals I made sure a lot of the meals coordinated ingredients so I could by in bulk.
for example I buy all my ground beef and chicken in bulk from costco or Nuefiuld farms. Ill explain what I do with all this in a sec. Also meals that offered up the same veggies I tried to make in the same weeks plan or end of one week beginning of another.
Another cost cutting tip is online ordering, they often have promo codes and you are more likely to stick to the list and only get what you need. The also have a option to shop from the flyers of the week so you can base a few meals according to whats on sale.
I try to meal prep once a month also which cuts out cooking time and helps for crazy days, this is where the bulk buying comes in. I try and do this every time I get a large amount of one item and try to break it up so it doesn’t get to repetitive and are eating chicken breast for 5 days straight.
A meal prep example goes a little like this,
meatballs, hamburgers or meatloaf (not cooked prep shape and freeze )
cook meat for spaghetti sauce,lasagna, chilli, and stuffed peppers.
frozen meals I prep then freeze.
spaghetti and lasagna and chilli I able batch and free one and refrigerate the others.
Chicken same thing I pre cook some for salads and stirfrys during the week, I often then will make a crock pot of soup or marinate for later in the week.
I dont do this every week but try once a month and it totally helps on those crazy days or weeks or when you just don’t feel like cooking!
Hope these pointers helped and hopefully can help save the dinner guessing game everyday.