10.09.2013

The Nifty Thrifty Lady's Monthly Meal Plans

I am always getting these questions " How do you plan your meals on such a small budget?" or "how do you plan for a whole month based on sales?".

Well curious minded friends I reveal all today!

Okay it is really NOT that big of a deal. I will not be pulling rabbits out of a hat. Hopefully though I will guide some people in the right direction.

First a disclaimer! WARNING!! BEWARE! This type of meal planning may not work for everyone AND my family does not have any special dietary needs so we can eat whatever (wait does uber picky eaters count?!).

Here is my October meal plan:

Lets look first at the Highlighted sections:
This idea I can not take credit for! Our co-contributor Stephanie came up with the idea and I stole it because it works!!
My highlighted sections are for
  • Special events- times when we will not be home for a meal, vacations, birthdays ect I also write the special event out at the top of the day because sometimes this can sway you from making a 4 course dinner to just popping in a pizza!
  • Freezer meals- More on this later
  • Eat out- I try to plan when we eat out so it can be budgeted for each month
Now you will notice that I plan for three meals a deal. Yup that is right I plan all meals and have rotating snacks! It is so much easier when I am in zombie mood each morning to know Monday is muffin mornings. Not to mention when you know what you are eating you know what you need to have on hand or buy at the grocery store. In return when you spot a great deal on muffin mix you know you can pick it up.This is how I create a stockpile and am able to shop the sales each month. So essentially I shop each month only for perishable items, bread and diary, and items to maintain my stockpile not what I am out of and need.

The next thing to look at is that each day is a "theme" well Monday-friday at least. This helps those that are less creative or those that need to know how much meat to purchase.
 My themes are:
Meatless Monday
Beef Tuesday
Leftover Wednesday
Chicken Thursday
Pork Friday
Saturday is a whatever day
Sunday we normally each dinner at my in-laws where I provide dessert.

I have my days set up like this because I typically cook 1 lb of meat when I prepare a dish. I know in one month then I will you 4 lbs of ground beef, chicken breast, and pork chops.  Now when the next sale at the butcher's happens I will buy the max amount allowed and have meat for about 3 months.

Finally lets look at the orange highlighted  areas. These are freezer meals. I like to created freezer meals for days when I am sick or I am just not in the mood for whats on the menu. This limits the impulse to order pizza or grab fast food!
I do freezer meals a little differently then most I think. I like to make a double batch of one meal each week and use the additional recipe as a freezer meal. It seems simpler to me and a lot less costly to double a recipe once a week instead of making 20 meals one day. I also pre-make lots of breakfast food and freeze to save time in the mornings and lots of money!

This is my grocery list for the month:

The meat is 1lb of each so I can make the additional freezer meal ( you should not re-freeze meat)
in additon to this I will buy milk, oj, tuna, water, coffee, capri sun, jello packets, and we need whole peppercorns. Plus diapers and a few hygiene products at CVS.
That is about it.

So I can EASILY stay with in my $150.00 budget.

I hope this has helped and answered some questions about how I meal plan.

Let me know if you have any questions, comments or even ideas on how to make this better!