Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saving money by meal planning

Setting up a meal plan does take time but you will find it is worth it in the long run. Cooking from scratch is not only healthier for the body but also healthier for the budget! Some benefits I have found to meal planning are:

1. No more wondering what is for dinner at the last minute. I always have at least 2 weeks worth planned out & I can adjust as needed.

2. It saves money! Last month I saved 79% on my grocery budget by sticking to a strict meal plan that also included much use from my food storage.

3. My children can have a say in what is for dinner. Being as I have had a difficult time with their eating issues for several years, this has been a huge plus for me. They like to help cook and plan with me. My boys have been trying more new foods this month than ever before.

4. I have more peace of mind.

5. I have found myself wanting to be more creative in picking meals, and trying new recipes.

6. My family loves the continuity...and so do I!

Over a few weeks I have jotted down in my planner all the dishes that we like to eat. Then I just rotate through the list. I periodically add new recipes that I have found we like. Here is a list of dinners that work for us. Maybe some will work for you too! Many of these are fall/winterish type meals. I need to start thinking of lighter foods!

Chicken Enchiladas
Tater Tot Casserole
Cheese Soup
Chicken Santa Fe
French Dip Sandwiches
Chili and Rice Wraps
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Taco Bake
Hawaiian Haystacks
Meatloaf & Mashed Potatoes
Taco Salad
Chunky Potato Soup
Crockpot Chicken Marinara
Pork Chops and rice
Mexican Manicotti
Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
Homemade Pizza
Mexican Enchiladas
Tacos (soft and hard shells)
Sloppy Joes
Chili & Cornbread
Beef Skillet
Fagioli Soup
Baked Ziti
Spaghetti & breadsticks
Meatballs & rice
Spinach Lasagna
Pasta w/variety of sauces
Pork Roast w/all the fixin's
Taco Soup
Maui Burgers & homemade fries
Shepherd's Pie
Four Pasta Beef Bake
Frito Dinner
Chicken Rolls
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Mexican Chicken and Rice
Garden Patch Chowder
Tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches
Sweet and Sour Chicken
Baked Potato Bar
Noodles w/grilled veggies & cheese
10 minute Szechuan Chicken
Breakfast for dinner (my kids love this)
Scalloped Potatoes & veggies

I am starting to get our family eating less processed food and more fresh. It is a process, something that we are not doing all at once. Eating lots of fruits and veggies is not easy on the budget, but I feel it is worth it for our health. Even though I am buying more healthy foods, by budgeting our meals I am still finding some savings in the budget.

What are some of your favorite meals? Have you had success with meal planning?

1 comment:

Jackie said...

Marne, I do this exact same thing and it is the greatest! Whenever we vacation, my husband is always excited to get back home where he can see on the fridge exactly what will be for dinner tonight, tomorrow night, and for the rest of the night. I only plan meals, since lunch and breakfast are easy and I don't need much prep. I really only have to go shopping once a month (as suggested in America's Cheapest Family). I rarely follow the calendar to the T; I'll swap meals according to what we're in the mood for, so it's a flexible plan. Thanks for posting your list. I love it! I'm a cookbook fanatic and I end up making a new recipe every night. I think I need to repeat a bit more because I make meals all the time that the fam loves, and then we never see it again because I forget about it. :)

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