Get out of Debt: Meal Planning

After examining our spending for a moth, I saw a huge area where we were not in control.  Spending on food.  This covers groceries AND eating out.  I always thought we didn’t eat out much but the numbers don’t lie!!  Granted, Daryl took a trip with the kids and they had to eat out the entire time but still, our spending was crazy!  And then because I hadn’t planned well for lunches, we’d have to grab something while running errands.  Lack of planning is my downfall!

So after setting our food budget this month, I sat and stared in our pantry.  It’s fairly well stocked with basics.  What things can I make meals from in here?  Then I went and stared in our freezers.  We raise our own meats (beef, pork, chicken) so we have more than the average person in our freezers.  I then started a list of all the meals we can make from these ingredients.

Another pitfall I discovered about lack of planning is there is nothing leftover to eat for the next lunch.  My kids do not like sandwiches and my lunch choices have not been very healthy or budget conscious.

I have been following a blog mom lifeasmom.com for many years. She is the queen of meal

planning, shopping with a budget, being organized and freezer cooking. I have one of her cookbooks called Not Your Mother’s Freezer Cookbook which we love.  I love her recipes because they are real food ingredients.  And I can easily adapt to gluten free for me.

 

So I looked through her cookbook and immediately saw 10 recipes that would be kid approved and easy for me to fill my freezer with for lunches.

I don’t meal plan like some who say “Monday is this,  Tuesday is this…”  I just write down the meals we have all the ingredients for.  Then the morning of, I examine my day and usually ask the kids what they prefer off the list.  Unless it’s a crazy day and know I need a crockpot type  meal and start that preparation the night before.

So I wrote down all the dinner and lunch plans, made a list of where I get them, and then shopped.  I didn’t add up how much I was spending as it was the beginning of the month and these were all staples.

This past Saturday, I got to work on filling freezer with lunch meals and canning.  The meals were mostly for my kids.  I took some of the main ingredients (like the chicken from the chicken bacon ranch sandwiches) and added spaghetti squash for them for my lunches.  Then I wrapped them up, labeled them and put them in the freezer.  They can be thawed and heated the morning of eating.

The effort makes me so happy!  Freezer filled with yummy foods!  And making sure I stay on spending plan.

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