3 Reasons You Need to be a Meal Plannerahopefulhappenstance
And read on to see why we’re keeping up with it:
We set a relatively easy budget to stick to considering we only have a family of three. However, before this it was rare that we stayed under budget. One of our resolutions was ONE trip to the grocery store per week. We use to make several ‘quick trips’ a week to the store. Each time we ran to get ‘one thing’ we needed for a recipe we ended up buying several other things we really didn’t need. This habit can become quite expensive. Now, the only thing we will make a second trip for is medicine. If we forget something we needed for a certain recipe I do my best to adapt it and leave the ingredient out or use something we do have. I think this has been the major factor in keeping our budget where we want it.
2. Our Time: Along with saving money, making fewer trips to the store saves us sooo much time. 20 minutes several times a week turns into a few hours per week! You can do a lot with a few extra hours. Everyone says, ‘Oh I just don’t have time..’ Welllll do you have a bad grocery shopping habit? If you do then I bet you could make the time if you tried. Add those hours to the hours I save each week by not staring into the fridge aimlessly wondering what I should make for dinner and you could probably watch the whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Ok maybe not, but I do save a lot of time.
I don’t schedule each meal down to the day; instead I list out four meals for each week. I like to leave a little bit of room to make last minute decisions rather than feeling bad when a meal doesn’t get made exactly when I had planned. When it comes time prep I just pick whichever sounds the best or is the quickest depending on my needs for the night. On occasion I’ll even make a meal that wasn’t on the schedule! Whaaa, how dare she! I know, I’m super daring. This is great way to practice your Mommy-MacGyver skills to see how many of your leftovers or un-used ingredients you can combine to make a dish! Chili is a pretty easy last minute extra meal. It’s not in my meal planning schedule because we almost always have most of the ingredients on hand so I’ll make it if we have last minute company or if we’re just craving it.
3. My Stress Level: Before our meal planning I spent a lot of time stressing over how to use the ingredients we had on hand. Then when I couldn’t think of a way to do it we’d run to the store to get what we needed, sometimes daily. I worried that we rarely had consistent healthy meals. I put forth much effort to not text my husband to ask him to pick up fast food on the way home and spent a lot of time searching Pinterest to see if it could somehow come to my house and cook for me… Now, each week we make a shopping list, do our best not to forget to add anything we need for our meals that week. We check the toiletries and pantry to make sure we have the essentials for breakfast and snacks. Then we shop! We shop together which I know is not possible for all families but it’s something I’m grateful we can make work, especially during the cold months. We usually go on the weekend which can get crowded but we live in a small town so our crowded is still manageable. And it wayyyy beats stopping by several times throughout the week! Fewer trips and fewer decisions mean less stress for me. Along with more homemade meals, less fast food, less standing with the fridge open, more sticking to our budget, and more time for other things. All these things result in less stress for mama!
Take your time back. Take your budget back. And stress less. At least it’s worth a try!