Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pinching Pennies

When J and I first got married, every single meal we ate was carefully planned for and prepared, sometimes a week ahead of time and frozen. We were wildly prepared for dinners and flexibility with meals and fairly well on spending. As we got more settled into "life" then life with a child, then life with children, we slacked (who am I kidding...I slacked!!) on meal planning and shopping prudently. Perhaps we were careless, unhealthy, and went out as we desired. But, tough times call for strapping down. Nov-February of each year is always teeth grinding....will there be enough money after we pay last years medical deductible and the start of this years, car insurance, life insurance AND Christmas gifts?!
So in December we committed back to our savvy meal shopping and thoroughly enjoying our meals at home no matter what. And, we tried to keep it simple, since we still have dinner on the table by 5 pm most night. 
We went out to eat on New Year's Eve, and went over 5 weeks before dining out-and even then we paid with those with gift cards!
I quickly discovered a few things:
-we spent less planning for 8 days of meals (an extra just in case we changed our minds) than we did planning for 5 (weekday meals)
- it's easier to spend money on breakfast than any other meal
- we can now effectively spend $40 less than our weekly grocery budget from two years ago (when our little people didn't eat like big people)
- we have about 2.5 weeks worth of dinner meals that we have the freedom to rotate
- we are committed to eating our leftovers as to not waste the prepared meal
- each week has a "splurge item" and it's super fun for the girls and I to choose when we are out shopping (sugary cereal week is probably the most looked forward week each month😂)
- the grocery trip has always been, but even more so now with my opinionated girls, a favorite pastime. We learn so much about our food, reading, people, and "sales"

We took the bill from our last meal out (with just me and J) and compared some prices. We can fix 5-6 dinners (to fed 4-6 people) for the price of one night out. Totally worth it when you're trying to save money!!!

So what do we fix?? These meals cost us between $4-9 a piece (4-6 servings). And we have left overs for lunch or dinner the next day.  Tacos, Chinese chicken w/fried rice (think general tso), crock pot BBQ chicken sandwiches, bow tie chicken pasta w/creamy ranch sauce, turkey tenderloin w/veggies, and some of these warm-fill-you-up meals:
Nana's chicken pot pie
Chicken casserole
Homemade pizza-EVERY WEEK :)
Minestrone soup 
Breakfast is always a winner!!-more elaborate like this, or just a simple casserole. 

So much freedom and fun in being together in this whole strategy! Always up for something new too!


Post a Comment