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Friday, October 26, 2012

Frugal Friday- Meal planning made easy

We have really been working on living within a budget since June. So with that in mind I began making a biweekly meal plan. It took some time tweaking to come up with a system that works for us. One problem I had with other meal plans is that they schedule what to cook each day of the week and I always ended up not really following it. Sometimes I didn't want to eat what was on the menu for a certain day, or I didn't want to cook what was on the menu. I'd end up cooking Monday's meal on Friday and Friday's meal on Thursday and pretty soon my meal plan was a mess. Most other plans I felt were to rigid. Some days I want an easy meal and other days I'm just in the mood to cook a more complicated meal. I wanted flexibility. So what I  did was write up 14 dinners numbered 1 through 14. I try to add a variety of meals, easy, crock pot, cheap, nice dinners and at least one new recipe or one we don't eat very often. Then I make my shopping list. I write the meals on the top half of the paper and my shopping list on the bottom. It's really easy making my grocery list because I have my menu right in front of me. Then I add the breakfast and lunch items to my grocery list. What I like about this plan is that each day I just pick whichever meal I feel like cooking and afterwards I cross that meal off the list. I always know that I have the ingredients on hand so I don't have to make any hurried trips to the store. I buy enough of everything for two weeks except for milk. I tried buying enough milk for two weeks but Shane doesn't like the milk once it's been frozen. This really cut down my trips to the grocery store, which cut out a lot of the impulse buying, which ended up saving us money. Below is a sample.

1. Meatloaf/mashed potatoes. 
2.CJ casserole                            
3. Spaghetti                              
4. Chili Cheese Burritos             
5.Smothered Pork Chops/rice   
6. Tacos         
7. Sloppy Joes/Chips                 
8. Barbecue Chicken/potato salad

9. Chicken spaghetti
10. Hamburgers/French Fries
11. Roast/potatoes/carrots
12. Tator Tot Casserole
13. Beef Stir Fry
14. Mexican Casserole

Grocery List

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