Friday, May 13, 2011

To Plan or Not To Plan.....That is the question!

So in all my frantic frenzy to try to save money I have decided to try to make a "Meal Plan"! Do any of you do this? I have looked at several types and sites that try to teach how to most effectively make a "Meal Plan". I have come to the conclusion that it is not as easy as it sounds.

First.......... you must decide how much you will spend and then where you will shop. You must check out store ads to see what items are on sale.....and stock up!

Second.............. decide if you will "Plan" for the week or for the Month. Will you prepare meals in advance and freeze or cook daily; what themes are you going to use: Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Meatless, Chicken, Hamburger, Pork, Pasta/Rice, Soups/Stew/Chili; and of course are you planning meals that are both delicious that your family enjoys and nutritious at the same time?

Really? I did not know that the Theme of my meal was important!! And when I was growing up did it matter whether I liked what was shoved in front of me? NO! I was told "Eat it, Or go without!" Has that changed? Now I am expected to not only cook, but make it delicious and nutritious at the same time!

Oh, the pressure!

And Third............You must never serve the same meal within 7 days of each other.

What? Now I must become a chef! Because there are probably 20 things that I can cook/bake and do well. ie...delicious and nutritious. GREAT!!

However.....I have decided to try the "Meal Plan". I am going to start out with 1 full month of dinners planned. Then if that works out, I am going to try for a second different month of planned meals and rotate them. THEN if I get really good, I will try for 3 full months of planned dinners and be able to rotate them.

I have picked my grocery store....and no it's NOT Walmart! Contrary to popular thinking...Walmart is NOT always the cheapest! Other stores have sale items that you can stock up on not just "Low Prices" on everything!

I have decided that I will do a mixture of cooking. I would like to be able to have at least 2 meals a week already pre-made and frozen for convenience. The rest I will cook.

I have also picked my "themes" Sheesh, still reeling from this one. I will use, Italian (of course), Mexican, Chicken, Hamburger, Pork, Easy night (i.e. sandwiches, frozen burritos or pizza,$1 burgers off the value menu from my favorite fast food restaurant) for nights when we have activities planned, and Meatless. Yes you heard right, Meatless! No I am going vegetarian on anyone! Going meatless just 1 or 2 days a week can really save a lot of money!

I am also still considering Breakfast as a theme, but not sure yet!

So that's it! I'm going to try it, see how it goes! I will be posting my first menu when it's finished! I love feedback and so would love to hear your ideas to make it better.

I saw two sites that I liked the best for the ideas that I got and I will share them with you! Check them out and make your own "Meal Plans" and share them too!

The first site is Suite 101 Lots of great and crazy ideas! Pick and choose what works for you! Also I really liked Frugal Mom Great ideas! And some good coupons too!

So I'm off to plan! You should too!