Frugal Tip Tuesday is all about meal planning this week! In case you are new here, you might not know that I am a big fan of meal planning. Not only does it save you money, it saves you time in the long run.
Meal planning can seem like a daunting task, but once you get the hang of it, it can be super quick! It also helps to have a log of past meals to pull from (on your blog, or written down in a day planner, or even take meal ides from others), so you aren’t trying to come up with new ideas all the time. Plan healthy and easy to prepare meals are top of my list too. I rarely spend more than 40 minutes in the kitchen cooking! I have two kids that need watching, but that doesn’t mean I am throwing frozen processed garbage in the oven every night.
Start out by picking a day of the week to do your shopping; usually the weekend or start of the week works best. I have a note pad on the counter at all times, so as we use up things during the week, it is written down on the list. If you don’t do this, do a quick inventory of staples you need. I try to get everything purchased in one trip out at the start of the week, but don’t be opposed to a second trip later in the week for more bread or fruit.
Next you will want to go through the weekly flyer from your store; check to see what is on sale and plan your meals around the sales. This isn’t to say you can only buy sale items, though other than staples I only buy stuff on sale. This is both exciting and frustrating for me. It keeps things interesting, as different meats and vegetables are on sale each week. It’s also frustrates me because some weeks the sale aren’t very good, or I have something in mind to make but it isn’t on sale. We are on a tight budget, and groceries are where we can make it or break it. So I usually stick to sales items only, and I’m not loyal to any particular brand either. If you use coupons, or want to price match, this is the time to do it! Keep it organized to not frustrate the cashier or people in line behind you.
I only meal plan my dinners, and it is only for weeknights. My husband usually cooks dinner on Saturday, and will go out and get what he needs on Saturday, and Sundays we are off with Grandparents.I don’t plan out lunches or breakfasts as formally as I do dinners. Breakfasts are usually cereal or yogurt, and some days are eggs and toast, and these are all things that we always have on hand. Lunch can range from leftover dinner from the previous day, to sandwiches, to boxed pasta (yes, we eat KD, give it to our son!) Depending on what we are having for dinner that week, I will know if there will be leftovers for my husbands to take to work for lunch. I’m home with the kids, and can usually scrounge something up for myself. We have also being doing our mason jar salads these last few weeks, so I make sure to pick up what we need for those too.
Once you have you list, all that is left is to hit the store! For me, that’s the hardest part; dragging two kids along is more work than the actual shopping!
So, that might all seem like a lot of work, but it really doesn’t take that long. It make your shopping trip much faster, as you have a list to follow. It makes your crazy dinner time rush easier because you don’t have to try to think up a dinner when you have two kids hanging off you demanding attention. And if one night you don’t feel like what you planned to make, switch it with another night!
So here is what we are eating this week:
Tuesday – oven roasted chicken drumsticks (club pack on sale!) with asparagus risotto (asparagus is on sale, and I have rice from last weeks’ risotto)
Wednesday – bbq’d sausages (on sale) with roasted orange/red/yellow peppers (on sale!)
Thursday – leftover chicken tortilla soup (in the freezer from last week) with 5 minutes artisan bread (dough is made in the fridge!)
Friday – baked fish (on sale) with rice and broccoli
I am also buying 2 lbs of ground beef to make up some hamburger patties, which we will have on Saturday, and the fixings for the jar salads; this week we are having black bean & corn with tomatoes, romaine lettuce and ranch dressing!
As always, I am linking up my meal plan with Org Junkie. This site is a great resource for meal planning tips, as well as hundreds of others’ meal plans. Lots of great ideas, so make sure to check it out!
PS – Last weeks’ meal plan was AMAZING! Some of the best food I have ever made I think. That risotto recipe I made, it was out of this world! It was even better the next day as cold leftovers! I highly recommend it! It was pretty easy, considering I had never made risotto before, and had two kids to deal with while making it! The chicken tortilla soup was great as always, and the recipe made enough to freeze some for a later date! I also made some 5 minute artisan bread to go with it, which just made that soup even better!