Monday, October 17, 2011

Meal planning

I mentioned meal planning in my couponing post the other day.  There have been times I've been better at having and following a meal plan than others.  This is one of the times I've been better at it.  I bought a 3 month meal plan from 5 meals in 1 hour back in August.  And we have loved it.  It has brought a variety that I was looking for into our meals.  There are only 5 meals a week so you still have to plan your own weekend meals but that's no problem for us as there are plenty of meals that are family favorites to fill in those spots.  I love having a plan.  Here's why:

1 - I always have something in the house for dinner (and if I get the meals prepped ahead like I'm supposed to they just need to be popped in the oven or slow cooker that day).

2 - It has cut our costs because we're not eating out and we're not wasting produce and other perishable goods.

3 - Using a meal plan put together by someone else has given us a variety of things we've never tried before which we all love.

Peace of mind, lowered costs, and variety of food experiences for both the adults and our children?  Priceless.  I highly encourage you all to meal plan - even if you just do it yourself.  But if you don't want to do it yourself there are TONS of meal plans available for purchase from places on the internet.  I have tried and vouch for: 5 meals in 1hr, e-mealz (this one has a huge variety of choices for a meal plan), saving dinner (again a large variety of choices).  Of the three I am enjoying 5 meals in 1hr most for a couple of reasons. 1 - she tends to use everyday things you'd already have/eat for her meals.  There aren't a ton of random small things that cost a fortune and you'll only use part of before it expires.  I found that the saving dinner meal plan tended to increase the cost of our meals for this reason.  2 - you get the whole meal plan for the month at the start of the month so if you shop ahead (like I try to do with sales) you can already see what meats and non-perishables you'll need making it easier to get them on sale.  I don't honestly remember how the other two meal plans came out - they could have been monthly as well you'd have to check the websites to see.  3 - I find that while the 5 in1 plans offer variety they aren't totally out there recipes.  There is usually one recipe a week that we trade out but it's usually because that type of meat is just too pricey to spring for at this time.  Not because the meal doesn't sound good.  There has been one meal I didn't make because it didn't sound good out of almost 3 months of meals.  There was one meal I've made that we liked but that doesn't re-heat well for left overs (so I just plan that for a Friday because KOJ takes leftovers for his lunches during the week so that's kind of important. lol)

Anyway, I have no personal interest in what meal plan you use, this post was just to encourage you to give it a try and see how it reduces your food bill.  I know for us if I can make dinner at 10.00 for the family that saves us a TON of money over what we'd spend if we had to eat out because of poor planning. 

disclaimer: these are my own personal opinions and I do not get any kind of compensation for sharing them.

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