Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Meal Planning Hassle {Home Life}

The never-ending necessity... It's like Laundry; you do it one day only to have to do it again the next.  It's exhausting. Especially when you have to fit it into a budget.

It makes me tired just to think about it.

What's for dinner?

If you can wing it with contents of your cabinets, freezer, and fridge then power to you! I need to have a plan. I cannot just wing it. It stresses me out.

And trying to decide what to make?! I still have issues like I talked about in this post from over a year ago. Do I cook for something I will enjoy, or something everyone else will? Granted, the family needs to eat too.

I gave up and stopped planning. What we spent on groceries pretty much doubled. We ate fast food and processed pre-packaged way more than we had been. Of course, at the time I wasn't focusing on the budget too much anyway. But, I needed to start figuring out food and lowering the expenses there because it was starting to hurt expenses in other areas.


I needed to get back to meal planning. I needed to have an easy answer for the "what's for dinner" question. So I started using the meals we were making and created a list in Trello.

As we went through the meals I would check them off so we had some variety until we ate from the whole collection and then uncheck them and start over.

It worked for a while. But I quickly grew tired of the process. I wanted to not have to be the only one making the decisions, but none of the meals sounded good to the other members of the family.

A friend had posted, on Facebook, about a freezer prep and planning site with meals to make for the month. I could fit the subscription into the budget, but the number of meals to pick from overwhelmed me, and fitting food for one month into the budget of half a month was not an option. I would have to at least go every two weeks.

Meanwhile, the question still lingered. Every day. What's for dinner.

These are the things I have started using to help alleviate the meal planning hassle recently and it's been working for the last few months.

I came across another meal prep option, in video form. The people were prepping meals in 30-45 minutes for the entire week. I watched several videos in a row and was impressed. The concept was similar, the price was the same. I decided to give it a try and if we didn't like it I would cancel the subscription.

The meals were pretty good. It was different than we were used to. But they fit into our normal (not inflated) paycheck budget. Plus we've tried new things. Things we wouldn't have even thought to attempt before! Just this weekend we had salmon. Both of us have had bad experiences with salmon. It was not something we would have thought to try. But we did, and we enjoyed it!

Even the husband was joining in on the prepping of the food! If you want to check it out, it is 5dinners1hour.com.

The question was still there. What's for dinner?

But the kids enjoy looking through the pictures and help planning the meals. They like helping do the work on prep day (we do it on Sundays). Sure it takes us longer to prep 5 dinners than an hour (we use mostly fresh ingredients), but it has been amazing.

I started using Ibotta again to help with the costs. Since it's a rebate program, the return is not as fast. Plus a lot of the items are pre-packaged which does not make it into our home as often. But, with snacks for the kids, cereal in the morning, toilet paper, and craft supplies it does indeed add up. I've had a few gift cards come through for Walmart, and used to buy things we needed! It's not points based but actually change. I prefer that so much more!

You can check it out through my referral code https://ibotta.com/r/vvggcw another bonus is it doesn't cost anything to sign up!


Have you jumped on board the Zaycon train yet? We first got some ground beef. It was amazing. The meat comes in 40lb increments, so make sure you have room! It was yummy meat.

They just had a 99 cent per pound chicken sale. I had to jump on that. When you pay regularly 1.99 per pound, 99 cents is amazing!

Check them out through my referral code: https://zayconfresh.com/refer/zf341341 
I only get credit if you buy something.

As of now, Zaycon's doors are closed. Sad as it was awesome meat.

Click List

Our local Fry's Foods (Part of the Kroger family) offers click list pick up. 

I don't use click list to order my food. I use it when I am planning to make sure I stay within budget. It keeps a running tally of the price. I can see whether items are on sale with the ad. 

Then when I am in the store I have the app on my phone and it has them listed in aisle order in the store. Perfect to make the trip go smoothly and quickly. I just go in order of the aisles as I shop! It's been life changing!

What do you do?
I'm still working on ways to keep my budget down or to stay in my budget. It's a constant learning game. What are some strategies you use to stay within your grocery budget?

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