Proverbs 31: 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
If you have been doing a grocery list and a meal plan for a while than this is just a refresher. I'll move on to intermediate and advanced grocery savings in my next post. But for now, after you start using a grocery list it's time to start making a meal plan.
My life was completed changed when I attended a ladies function at Grace Bible Church and the topic was meal planning. This lady stood up and told us how she planned the meals her family ate and that she spent less time & money at the grocery store. The week before I had 'planned' to make baked chicken,potatoes and carrots for my family. But as I flew through the grocery store with one kid I forgot to buy the chicken. Let me tell you something...your family will notice that the chicken is missing! Due to my inattention I had to have my dear husband go to the store to pick up the chicken for me. I knew something had to change and change drastically. This lady from Grace introduced me to the concept of meal planning and it has done all that she said plus more+. I do consider meal planning as a basic level skill and I will begin to discuss the intermediate and advanced skills in upcoming posts.
So what is Meal Planning?
A meal plan is literally just planning out what meals your family will eat over a period of time. You can do this in a variety of ways: on a calendar, make a list of (7-14 meals and cross them out as eaten, use index cards.... What is important is that you are a woman with a plan.
How do I make a meal plan?
I plan out my meals by using the meal plan that at the top of the page. I look at my calendar and write on the meal plan calendar any events that are occurring that will effect dinner (a long day out, other dinner plans, a meeting where Wayne will be serving dinner (I still make dinner but I need to be aware it cannot be a last minute thing), folks coming over for dinner, etc....). Then I determine which days need to be crock pot, quickie meals and more involved suppers. Also I consider the meat that is in the freezer that still needs to be used and what is on sale that week.
Hopefully, you have been collecting recipes your family loves, recipes you hope to try and recipes that you have already nixed. I write notes in my cookbooks as far as whether or not we like a recipe or not. (I even write a note that says make it in this or that pot, start this early it takes a lot of time etc.... )
If it's your first time doing this sit down and think of 7-14 dinner meals you make for your family on a regular basis. Write them down on a piece of paper. Locate all of the recipes, do not do this from memory, we are moms we do not have a memory anymore (you have children...your memory left years ago!).
SIDE NOTE: I put all of the recipes that I use in a binder so I can avoid going from recipe book to book. If I find a new recipe in a book I scan it print it out and put it into my book. I have a friend who rips the pages out of the cookbook and puts it into her binder. Do whatever works for you! My pages are in page protectors because I am a sloppy cook, Kim's pages are in page protectors also and she is a very neat cook! I add any recipes I have found on line, newspapers, magazines etc.... But only add recipes you have cooked and you like. You can keep the ones you want to try in another folder!
Now that you have determined how many meals you will be planning, and you have made a list of meals you'd like so its time to your recipes binder, cookbooks and grocery list out. You have determined how many meals you need. You have written a list of meals to make. Now you need to look at the actual recipe and check off the ingredients on your grocery list (or write them if you use a handwritten list, like Kim).
How does this save money?
1. Gas...You should have all of the ingredients you need to make your meal(assuming you got your cookbook out and you did not use your memory) So you should not need to make extra trips to the grocery store.
2. You will not purchase items you do not need to make your meals. Those unused items will not sit in your pantry unused and wasting your money.
3. Time...You will spend less time in the grocery store. You will not have to send your husband to the grocery store.(I personally hate to send my husband to the grocery store because he has a stressful job and I prefer he gets to come home and relax. He never complains I just don't like to send him because he never asks me to go to his job to help him.But that's just me....)Proverbs 31:14 She is like the merchant ships,bringing her food from afar.
4. Health Care....your family will start to eat more healthy food. Simply by avoiding Fast food you can increase your families health and lose weight.
Proverbs 31:11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
If you ran a cafeteria, which we do as Moms, you would not show up and tell them lets wing it today. People would go hungry and the food would be poorly made. We make over 1,000 meals a year...Yes you read that correctly. As I began to approach this duty (and all of my duties) as a ministry I began to see how important and how vital my position is in our family. I do not work to make money, I work very hard to save and spend our money wisely.
If you have never done this before do not be discouraged. Just take a deep breath and start slowly. Plan a week, a few days or whatever you can handle and work up to planning a longer period of time. Oh beloved, this is such a wonderful journey we get to go on as wives and mother's we have skills to learn and a families to love with God's help. So just keep on going.
My most important tid-bit before the budget and Kim speaks her piece...Please pray over your grocery list and meal plan. It sounds sill but we needed fruit last week and God put oranges on sale for $1 for 4#. Girlfriend you better believe the One who raised Christ from the dead is in charge of the grocery store prices! Ask God to reveal waste, thrift etc...
*************THE McMaass Budgets Revealed*********
How much do the McVay's spend on Groceries..... $400 per month for a family of 5! (Plus 2 college girls every Tuesday, random visitors, country kids, Maass family & any wayward soul who wanders in during a meal or snack time!)
The Maass's spend $300 per month for a family of 3!
Both of our budgets are exact and they include food, toiletries, diapers, cleaning products, make-up basically anything you can get at Wal-Mart.
Please see comments for Kim's "two cents"!