Then eventually at some point during the month I would wonder, "Where did all of our money go?". I know where it went. Right to all those extra little things I felt like we needed. Impulse buys.
In an effort to save money and stop spending so much of our extra money I started making a meal plan and shopping once a month. I still go to the grocery store once a week for milk and fresh produce. The difference is now I go by myself with a very short list. There's no one with me asking for Oreos or "tiger chips" (Cheetos).
So on the the last day of every month I sit down and make a menu for the entire month. I only plan dinners. My husband takes leftovers for lunch and the kids and I will have something here. We'll either eat leftovers from dinner, a salad or something else quick and kid friendly like sandwiches.
What I love about meal planning is it takes the guess work out of what we're eating everyday. What I dislike about meal planning is that I literally cook everyday except for the one or two days I schedule a dinner out or eating leftovers. Pushing through my exhaustion and laziness did help in a big way in December. We only ate out twice in the entire month of December. Once for our wedding anniversary and we drove through Chick-Fil-A one day while we were hanging out. To give you an idea of how much we use to eat out -- On any given week we would probably visit Chick-Fil-A for lunch at least 2-3 times. Resulting in about $15-$20 per trip and that would be on the low end. Whenever I get a salad it's more than that.
Needless to say that was about $60 a week that we were spending on eating out. Not good. Creating a meal plan helps me to see what we're eating too. I cook everything from scratch. Everyday. (the black beans do come from a can. Sue me.) I try to create a mix of the soul food my husband loves with healthier options that I need and fun foods that the kids like.
I'm still working on getting it down to a science. The relief that monthly meal planning has given me is life changing. No more random grocery store trips.
Do you plan your family dinners for the month? Have any tips for me?