Family, Health & Fitness

Meal Planning on a Budget

Living Like No One Else means you need to plan, shop and eat Like No One Else.

I love me some food. I will gladly throw down $XX for an amazing meal…Sushi, Mexican, Italian. Yes, and yes.

But, since Merfman and I are following Dave Ramsey’s Plan we’ve cut wayyy back on the fine dining. I don’t mean we were chowing down on steak and lobster every night. Just a few out to lunches/dinners/pizza delivery that were quickly adding up.

I like cooking, and Merfman is really only home for meals on the weekends so I can get it together for 2 days, yea? I’m partial to leftovers/solo meals when he’s working late so I try to plan our meals out on Thursday for grocery shopping on Fridays.

I know there’s a million MealPlannerWeeklyMenuShopping Printables out there on the interwebs, but I made one for myself.

You can download it here —> Menu Planner

I think the key to staying on track with your weekly grocery budget is planning ahead, making a list and no impulse buys! Seriously, if you look at what you already have in the kitchen, plan your meals and then make your list you should be set. I’m also a big fan of sticking to cash for grocery shopping. We have $80 – $100 a week for food. I know from shopping at the same stores that I can hit right around $80 each week, sometimes under if I use coupons ;)

So, do we eat rice and beans for every meal? No…but we do love our crock pot “refried” beans and Fried Rice dinners, yum. I don’t eat any meat besides fish so that cuts wayy back on the spending. If you have 1 – 2 meatless meals a week you’ll save money. Protein is the most expensive item on your shopping list…well, next to the vino, hehe. Scratch that, we drink $2 wine in our house…Fresh and Easy brand for the win!!!! Don’t judge, it’s actually really good.

Buy frozen veggies, they last longer and still hold their nutrition. I HATE wasting food, especially produce. Make your own beans, seriously. You’re like, wha – beans are dirt cheap anyway?! Think about it, you can buy a BAG of dried beans for a few bucks and make multiple servings vs that one CAN for a few dollars that’s 1 – 2 servings.

Steer clear of the JUNK food. For one, it’s not good for you. Two, it’s not going to make you feel full so you’ll eat more, therefore spending more to fill you up. Hard-boil an egg, or eat a piece of cheese. Protein is what fills you up, so if you’re snacking on those granola bars you’re getting nothing but sugar and carbs at $1 a pop.

Buy the store brand. I know, I know…but the name brand TASTES better, right? Sometimes, it does. There are a few things I will buy name brand for, like Pancake Mix. Bisquick has a million uses anyway. But almost everything “store brand” is made in the same place where the name brand is, it just has a different label. Try a blind taste test with your family by switching your oatmeal, or tortilla chips. It’s not a big difference, but it will save you moneyz.

Happy Cooking, and Happy Friday!