Since the little man was born, I quit meal planning. I made a two-week plan a few months ago and realized that I actually save money by NOT having a menu plan. How?
We buy our meat in 1/4 cow or a ton of whatever is on sale for chicken/pork. Every weekend I pull 3-4 items out of the freezer to cook. It’s not complicated – a roast, steaks, ground beef, chicken breast or a pork tenderloin I found on special. Those are generally my options.
Few Side Options
We tend to eat paleo-ish so there are only a few things we eat regularly. I keep rice on hand & buy potatoes. We don’t eat pasta because I can’t eat tomatoes or dairy without feeling icky so we don’t eat much of that.
And veggies & fruits. I buy whatever looks good or is on sale. Preferably in season. Canned, fresh or frozen, I buy what we will eat.
No Weird Ingredients
I recently cleaned out my spice cabinet and threw out 5 bottles of spices that looked like they were used once. One was still unopened 2 years past its expiration! And I know there is a giant can of tomato juice for a soup recipe I planned & never got to LAST winter. Oops.
When I meal plan, I get bored with writing the same thing and add new recipes when I feel like the others are over done. And buy weird ingredients–like coriander. It also allows me to make the same thing over & over until people are sick of it. My people have been more satisfied, too.
Without a meal plan, I actually waste less. When I start thinking about dinner at 3-ish, I look at what I have available or what needs to be cooked. Some of those hodge-podge, use it up meals have led to some awesome new favorites.
I also tend to know when something is not going to be eaten before my personal leftover deadline and put it in the freezer earlier. Plus, we eat leftovers for lunch — even steak is cheaper than lunch meat when you pay by the pound for 1/4 or 1/2 a cow :).
And when all else fails, make breakfast for dinner. No one is ever disappointed with that in our house!
While I am a lover of soups & casseroles, dietary restrictions make most of them difficult to impossible. It’s easy to cook some meat & veggies, especially when starches are optional & rarely missed :). Anyway, that’s how I save money by NOT having a meal plan.
Do you make a meal plan?
This post is linked to