Sunday, September 4, 2011

meal planning

Being a stay at home mama is something I do not take for granted. I feel so blessed to be able to spend each and every moment with my son, watching him learn and grow. The days weeks are passing so quickly lately that I simply can't imagine what I would do if I had to go to work. I'd probably spend 95% of my day thinking about him and wondering what he was doing. It would be hard to focus! Missing all his milestones and having to hear about his "firsts" from a nanny or day care provider would just about kill me. Not to mention the fact that I'm exhausted every day simply from caring for {and chasing around} my son. I can't imagine doing it after having to work eight hours- and somehow finding time to clean and cook, too! Crazy! I want to give all you working mamas out there a big round of applause. You inspire me!

My husband is a soldier. He makes a decent living but you know, there are bills to pay and it seems like we have the worst luck ever- there's always some kind of unexpected expense. Almost every month. Since I'm not working and obviously not contributing to the household {other than the little bit I get from doing blog design} I try to find ways to spend less and save more whenever I can. My latest fixation? Grocery shopping. I've been doing some research lately and was absolutely shocked to read that some people spend as little as $50 for a week of groceries. I've always prided myself in being a "smart grocery shopper"- buying store brands, looking for sales, never shopping on an empty stomach, sticking to my shopping list, and using coupons {this is something I need to do more!}, etc... but our weekly grocery bill is definitely nowhere near $50.

One of the big things I've been doing lately is meal planning. So far, it has really helped us to save, eat healthy (and at home more), and to avoid those spur of the moment shopping trips where you always come home with twice as much as you intended to buy. Next month, however, I'm going to take it to the next level and try once a month shopping. I first read about this on Melissa's blog, Happy Homemaking in Texas. I knew I was going to try it before I even finished reading.

I'm going to do a few more posts entirely devoted to this topic as October draws near, since we've already gone grocery shopping for the first half of September, and I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty excited about it. I'm working on a monthly meal list and master shopping list.
But right now? My first priority is creating a nifty meal planning board like the ones below.

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

Adorable, right? And so functional!

I'm doing some more reading about meal planning, particularly monthly meal planning, at sources like the ones below:
The Organic Sister
Organized Home
Simple Mom

Do you meal plan?
What have you found helpful?


  1. what a great goal! we meal plan here as well but hubby does the grocery shopping... crazy huh? he loves it! he enjoys it! and actually, he's better at it. he clips the coupons, goes from store to store, shops the ads beforehand.. it's something he just loves to do. I took over the grocery shopping for a week and failed miserably. i should write about that experience. anyways, i'm loving the boards... that would so work for us.. i have the perfect place for one in my kitchen!

  2. I do meal plan, but I make it very flexible. I shop every other week (Usually the Saturday or Sunday after my husband gets paid). I make a list of two weeks worth of meals, and also include usually an "eat out" or "order in", and a couple quick frozen skillet meals for a day when I don't have time or don't feel like cooking. Then I make my list from my meal plan- and add the "staples", which for us is breakfast bars/cereal, milk, lunchmeat, individual bags of chips, yogurt, and bread. I spend right around 100-130 each time I go, and that includes adding a few toiletry items we need as well!

    Good luck! :)

  3. I just started meal planning this past week, and it's great so far, knowing what we are going to eat ahead of time! Also, we typically went grocery shopping ONCE all month. Now, I'm hoping by going once a week, or even once every other week, we will be more conscious of buying only what we need. :)

  4. I plan and only cook three meals a week, we eat leftovers the other nights. Also, I cook everything on Sunday so that way even if I'm too tired to cook the food is already done and there's almost zero cleanup!

  5. What a great idea! I've never thought much about meal planning and usually just stock up on things that we happen to be out of. I may have to consider giving this a go considering we're trying to cut our spending.

  6. I really like the second menu board! I'll have to check out the links. Thanks for linking my blog! When I get some extra $ I want you to re-design it. You do a great job!

  7. I do meal plan but I have a rotating menu of 3 or 4 weeks worth of meals, a different rotation for each season. (Which in TX is two seasons). I just don't like eating soups and hot food in the summer.

    This way, I have my rotating menus ready to go and don't have to keep reinventing the wheel every 2 weeks when I grocery shop and it's time to look at the menu. We try new things every week that I feel like it and if there is a good one, I add it into the rotation. So the rotation stays fresh.

    I do it to save my time and sanity since I have 5 kids and homeschool. I don't do it to save money. Supporting sustainable agriculture and only buying humanely raised meat and dairy is important to me, and unfortunately, that is not going to be the cheapest choice. Plus, we're foodies. We spend a lot on wild salmon and stinky cheese. ;)

    I actually like menu planning, even after years of it.

  8. I can't wait to read more about the meal planning.

    As a working mama- meals and grocery shopping are one of my biggest struggles. Finding the time and energy. And we spend waay to much money in this area, because its last min and not planned. I'm always looking for a better way.


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