It’s a Plan, Stan

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I only go to the grocery store once a week. I started meal planning a few years ago, and it’s made a HUGE difference in our evenings, our finances, and my stress level. It’s super easy, and it saves so much time in the evening. 

On Sunday, Mr. Gray and I look at our calendar, see what we have going on, and decide what we’re going to eat on the nights we will be home. I make a list based on what I need to make those things as well as any staples (read: things we use every day or pretty close to it, not stand-by, pantry groceries) we ran out of the previous week (usually those are already on the list; we try to put them on the list as they run out). 

Mr. Gray and I each have the Zenbe app on our iPhones, so we can both add items to the grocery list and sync it so we have the same list. It has a “check” feature, so you can check the item off as you place it in your basket at the store. You can also arrange the list, so I often put it in order by the layout of the store. Having the list on my phone makes it so easy to add things as we go through the week. We don’t have lists all over the house that gets left when we actually go to the store. Again, it simplifies things.

As we plan our meals, I try to account for what we will have leftover, what ingredients I can use in more than one recipe each week, how long things will keep, and whether or not I can freeze the leftovers. Here is a sample of what our week might look like: 

Monday: enchiladas, rice, beans
Tuesday: Heart Group 
Wednesday: spaghetti
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: out to eat

I know I split ground meat to make enchiladas and spaghetti. Tuesday we will snack at Heart Group or grab something on our way if we have time. We will have leftovers of both to eat Thursday. I don’t cook on Fridays. 

If I cook things that freeze well, I might cook all three nights we are home: 
Monday: roast, potatoes, & carrots
Tuesday: Heart Group
Wednesday: chicken & dumplings
Thursday:  stew & cornbread
Friday: out to eat
I can use the carrots in all three meals; the potatoes can be used on Monday & Thursday; the meat from Monday can be used in the stew Thursday. You get the idea. I also plan meals in accordance to how fast the ingredients spoil (since I only go to the store once at the beginning of the week).

Meal planning has literally changed my life. It is very rare that we stray from whatever we plan to eat. It is even more rare that I go to the grocery store more than once a week. This has saved me TONS of money. I make a list and mostly stick to it. I replace things we use often, but I do not keep a pantry or refrigerator full of food that can expire before I get to it. Plus, we hardly ever have the, “What do you want for dinner?” conversation, which makes it all worth while!

1 Comment

  1. We are the worst about straying from our meal plan once a week. Now I have a built in day of spaghetti so if I don't cook it nothing goes bad or is wasted. Also, we used to use Zenbe for our grocery list but now I LOVE Grocey IQ. Check it out.

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