Wednesday, September 1, 2010

12 Things: August Recap

Meal planning

12 Things: August Recap

My 12 things skill to work on has been meal planning. And man, did our house ever need it. I haven't perfected that skill by any stretch of the imagination, and there were still nights that dinner was grabbed out when things didn't work out at home (we are redoing parts of our home and although it's messy I'd still like to be able to stay on top of dinner). But what I did do was gain a new, fresh mindset. And I'll take that and be happy with it as I keep working at this. After trying, and figuring out what will work for us, I WANT to make it work for us. I want home cooked meals, I want that saved money not spent on restaurants, and I want a routine that works to make that happen. I think I will have the hang of it soon. So I thought I would recap what worked for me to challenge myself with this skill and/or what I think will work better than what I tried. 

1. Make meal plans two weeks at a time: even and especially including weekends. 

2. Make easy meals on the weekends: like using your crock pot or grilling. This is particularly helpful if you happen to be laying carpet in your house two weekends in a row and it sort of over takes the other rooms. Crock pot = not very much mess or fuss....Grill= all the mess is outside. So you can still cook, even with carpet tacks and paint buckets all about.

3. Buy a stack of paper plates and a stack of disposable cups: Give yourself a break, some grace, permission what have you. I am all for getting and staying on top of the dishes but some days with whatever might be going on in your life, cut your self some slack and make sure you have them in your house, somedays a pile of dishes is just too much on top of everything else. I'd much rather spend a few dollars and save my sanity every once in a while.

4. Bulk shop once a month: this can be a real sanity saver, especially if you have little ones or if your pregnant and your energy is lackluster or if you just want more time in your life even. I think this is one of the most practical aspects of meal planning. Start out according to your budget, it may not be practical to do big bulk shopping at the beginning of the month or even once a month at all.

That's okay! Work with what works for your family. You can shave off a little of your grocery bill per week and use the savings at the end of the month to buy some things in bulk at good prices for next month. You could have a no shopping week during the month and eat out of your pantry to get those savings to use right away. Or if you'd rather do it little by little, just spend $10-20 extra dollars a week on buying things your family consumes regularly when you see it at the lowest price and stock up. It will ad up and soon you will have a perpetual pantry.

5. Plan your shopping ahead of time: Don't just go to the store. I have let my coupon addiction fall by the way side, I like to think that morning sickness flushed it out of my system haha. : D But I really noticed the difference in our grocery bill and am getting back on track., I missed the savings. Without much planning, I'd say 15 minutes, I saved a good $20.00 between price matching and coupons. I used to save a lot more than that each week, but I am just getting back into it and only had the energy for minimal effort. You can definitely maximize your savings even more that that. It really adds up.

One scenario was Old spice body wash. I had a coupon for Buy one get one free and a coupon for $1.00 off of two Old Spice items. I also had an ad from another store that had them priced $1 cheaper. After the coupons and price match I got them for $1 each down from $8 total.  Also even if you're not a coupon person and don't want to bother with it,  I suggest at least looking at the sales flyers and using them to price match at one store you can glean a lot of savings this way too.

I will make a follow up post on how I make my shopping list that makes price matching less of a hassle and how I  organize coupons to maximize savings for anyone that is interested, it's not fool proof but I find it really helps after developing a system to work for me so I don't have to over think so much while shopping. 

Hope everyone is doing well with the 12 Things challenge. I have seen some really great skills, and even better outcomes from women trying them for the first time. I know it has been really encouraging to me from finding such nice comments from other ladies that are participating, enjoying so many of the blogs that are linked up, and feeling challenged to try these new things knowing there are so many others all working along side each other.



  1. I love the tips, especially the one about buying paper plates etc. This can be a lifesaver when you have morning sickness and is far cheaper than eating out : )
    I do my grocery shopping monthly but I menu plan only for a week at a time, its all I seem to be able to do right now.
    Sounds like you are well on your way to finding out what works best for your family! : )

  2. Ooh, these are all great tips, Karina! My first attempt at meal planning was made this past week, and I must say...I am LOVING it. It has actually made me feel a lot less stressed. No more, "Hmm, what am I going to make for dinner tonight?" followed by digging through the fridge and cabinets. I just go look at my list and it's done! We don't even follow it thaaat strictly either. If we want Thursday's dinner on Tuesday, I just make sure to cross out that dinner as a future option. I've also been planning in 2 week increments.

    Well, good luck with your meal planning! I really admire your determination with it : ) I'm trying to be the same way. It saves so much time, energy, and MONEY in the long run. We'll have to cheer each other on : ). Your family is so blessed to have a wife and mommy like you...I mean that.

    Have a lovely Wednesday!
    Lots of love,

  3. Thanks for the tips! I have a word doc that I use and print for my groceries. I also found a wonderful (& cute!!) Amy Butler coupon organizer on etsy that has 36 dividers. I think the seller was Grandma'slittleleah??

  4. Melodie: That's awesome you have such a good system down. I am just starting the monthly thing, I think it is helping thank goodness. Ha you are right about that the paper plates, they are way cheaper than eating out great way to justify buying them. Sometimes momma just needs a break you know!

    Laura: Awesome! Glad they helped. Way to go on doing your first meal planning. I know isn't it nice to totally not even have to think about it! You are right I am seeing how it can save a lot of money just by planning alone. Yeah, I agree cheering each other on is a great idea, it'll keep ya going. Thank you SO much. That means a lot and you certainly sound like a great blessing your to your family too.

    Take care, hon!

    Sweet Apron: You're welcome! That's awesome. Makes it so much easier to just click print, huh! Once I realized I should do that it was like a huge light bulb went off for all the times I'd hand written my list and forgot something! Those a ha moments are the best.

    Ohh, I love her fabric/designs! Great find!


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