Has your entire budget been blown because you had a stressful day with no plan in place on what to prepare for dinner? That convenient $25+ meal for you and your family just ruined your plans and goals.
It’s really not as hard as it sounds and depending on the foods that your family enjoys could be quite simple.
For a long time we ate the same thing every week that allowed me to by 3 pounds of ground beef and have meals for the week. Of course, as my kids have grown they’ve wanted to try new things or I’ve realized they’ve never had certain dishes before.
So now, I find in order to stay the course in paying off credit card debt, it is worth my time to sit and plan meals that will work for my busy weekly schedule.
1) Check Your Calendar- When you are working on your spending plan this is a good time to also think about your activities for the weeks to come. You can check if it’s an evening at home or an evening filled with activities.
2) Check Your Time- How long is the commute going to be? Will you have time to come home first? Sometimes we don’t have as much time as we think once we factor in commute and potential traffic. Be realistic about what can really happen.
3) Check Your Spending Plan- If you have it in your budget to eat out before or after the activity, great! If not, think of the ingredients that you’ll need to purchase to get through meals for the week. You’d be surprised at the amount of grocery that you can purchase for the price of that meal out.
4) List the Menu-You can write this somewhere in the kitchen area to remind you. A dry erase board or chalkboard will do the trick here. Don’t be afraid to list leftovers as a menu option.
5) Prep, Prep, Prep- If I can already have meats cooked that I just need to add to a recipe that saves me time. Also, pre-chopping some vegetables does also. This is also a good way to get your kids away from their phone for 10 minutes by having the ones who are old enough help out with this task. If you kids are still small, block out time to take care of your prep for the week.
6) Make Ahead- You can also make meals ahead of time and freeze them. Or use that trusted crockpot. Then when you get home you have less to do and more time to eat and spend with your family.
7) Don’t Forget the Weekend-I’ve been lucky enough to remove most activity from the weekend, so I tend to forget we still need to eat! Don’t forget to plan your meals for you days off too.
Taking some extra time to plan and prepare can save you money throughout the week. That is more money to save and avoid a budget bust. We all have to eat and restaurants know this so they are willing and able to meet this need for you, for a price… Meal planning can be less expensive and more nourishing for your family. That’s definitely a win, win.
If you find these tips helpful, share with me how meal planning is going for you in the comments below!