Have I mentioned here before that we meal plan? I don’t think so… I was reminded how great meal planning is today when I watched a video on one of my favorite blogs, Money Saving Mom. She has a series going on how to reduce your grocery bill and meal planning is lesson two. We started meal planning several years ago. At first, I was resistant because I felt like I wanted to be spontaneous, but I just ended up spending more money and time at the store. Now I love meal planning and would be a scrambled mess without it. It allows me to to glance at the plan, which is usually posted on the fridge, and pull out whatever I need for the evenings meal. It makes it way easier now that I have Boo too since my brain is usually fried by the end of the day. I typically make the plan on Sunday evening. I get out this form, which I downloaded free from The Project Girl. She has lots of other free downloads as well. I have tried other forms and found this style to be the best for us. I really like the dept. breakdown on the grocery list side – it makes it a lot easier to shop with a baby if you have your list divided for easy reference.
So, I start by looking at my GooCal to see what is going on for the week. If we have a busy day then I generally try to put a simpler meal in that slot. I also try to keep track of leftovers so that there is something Sean can take for lunch as well. I try to put a meal that will generate leftovers on Sunday or Monday to be sure there is something for him.
So far, it works pretty well. We don’t always stick to the plan. Sometimes I have a bad day with Boo and I just can’t cook something so we need to go out or just have a sandwich or something. Meal planning keeps me honest and generally keeps our grocery bill lower, though I can make additional improvements there… I should note that I really only plan for dinners right now, but I have been thinking about moving to a plan that includes breakfast and lunch since Boo and I are home all day and he is eating more normal meals now. Right now, I just try to have some staples around for breakfast and lunch like cereal, oatmeal, fruit, tuna, peanut butter, etc.