Work it Wednesday | Meal Planning - Our 6 Steps

I have struggled with this for so long and I still struggle every day. It's easy to stay on track the first week, 
or even the second week, but usually after the second week I just seem to lose track of it all. Does this ever happen to you?

I have recently been inspired by a multitude of blogs and friends that have spoken about budgeting and meal planning. There is hope! I thought that I always had to stick with pasta, rice and beans in order to stay within our monthly budget. Not so! Granted, rice, beans and pasta are still very common in cheaper recipes, but thankfully, with different spices, veggies, meats, and sauces, these dishes can give a very different experience at the table!

We used to just pick out meals that we usually like to eat (not necessarily affordable) and just throw them onto a calendar. 
That works for some people. It hasn't seemed to work for us, so this is what we did THIS round...

1.  Set a time frame for discussing meal planning

Chris and I are learning (or at least I am) that we do best when we set aside a specific amount of time to discuss things, 
like budgets and meal planning. (I keep bringing up budgeting because this is our entire reason for meal planning, to SAVE MONEY!) We are both very "black and white" in personality and sometimes we overdo things. So when we set a time frame, it helps us limit what we can do (and stay focused) instead of going all out and forgetting our original purpose. 
Does that make sense? I hope so.


2. Researched cheap recipes and recipes that use only what I already have

Let me introduce you to! This website is AMAZING!
You just check off what you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer and it will give you a HUGE list of recipes! 
How awesome is that???

Lauren of has shared with us how to make 25 (3-course) meals for less than $150.00 when shopping at Aldis!

3. Wrote all the names of these recipes down (recipes on a separate sheet) 

Here's my recipe list from earlier this week:

Fried Rice with Ham & Asparagus
Sausages with Warm Potato Salad
Sweet & Sour Brisket
Orange Beef & Broccoli/Asparagus Stir-fry
Cheddar Ham & Spinach Strata
Parmesan Pork Cutlets
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Apricot Chicken
BBQ Chicken
Cheesy Chicken
Simple Pot Roast
Asian Beef
Ham & Potato Casserole
Potato & Corn Chowder
Salsa Chicken & Black Bean Soup
Shrimp Alfredo
Hot Dogs
Mac & Meat
Chicken Noodle Soup
Black Beans & Rice
Roasted Red Pepper Chicken
Spinach Fritatta
Red Pepper & Kielbasa Pasta
Marinated Grilled Chicken
Chicken Fajitas
Turkey Meatballs
Chicken Parmesan
Chicken & Rice
Chicken & Dumplings
Pancakes with Fruit
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Homemade Pizza
Veggie Pasta
Tangy Grilled Chicken
Chicken & Rice Casserole

4. Had my husband pick out (at least) ten to twelve meals off my list!

5. My turn to pick out the ten to twelve meals that sound tasty to me!

6. Decide what meals to have each day of the week and write it down on my calendar! 

If you want to make a meal together, plan accordingly. My husband won't have a lot of time to help me cook during the week, so Fridays and Saturdays are good days for us to cook together!

Here's what our schedule looks like:

Thursday: Black Beans and Rice --- freeze half
Friday: Mac & Meat --- freeze half
Saturday: Homemade Pizza (Dough from scratch)
Sunday: Raven's Meal (basically whatever you find to eat)
Monday: Red Pepper & Kielbasa Pasta --- freeze half
Tuesday: Lasagna --- freeze half
Wednesday: Pancakes (from scratch) & Fruit ---freeze half
Thursday: Marinated Grilled Chicken --- freeze half
Friday: Chili --- freeze half
Saturday: Fried Rice with Ham & Asparagus ---freeze half
Sunday: Raven's Meal
Monday: Chicken & Dumplings (dumplings from scratch) --- freeze half
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Veggies --- freeze half

Tip: When making your meal, freeze half for a later date!

Chris and I only picked out enough meals to cover two weeks. Like I said before, we're deciding to set a time limit for these types of things. We picked out our meals in between turns while playing Yahtzee! Haha! That's the best way to make decisions! ;)

You probably have a lot of these ingredients already! 
Noodles? Check! Veggies? Check! Flour? Check! Rice? Check! Cheese? Check!
I could give you my entire grocery list, but that would be even more boring than my meal plan for the next two weeks! I spent a total of $105.05 on my grocery shopping trip. $68.05 at Aldis and $37.00 at Kroger. This includes some other necessities.

Every one of these meals can easily be eaten a second time during the month, if that's something both parties agree to! These are not one-time meals!

Your $100.00 can go farther than you think!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell me your opinions! Do you have any advice for me? I'd love to hear from you!