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Meal Planning Meal Planning

Hi! I am new here and I am wanting to get more organized..

Posted by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM
  • 9 Replies

I am wanting to begin meal planning to help with my budgeting.  My DF is getting laid off again tomorrow (he is a fiber optics technician and his work is thru a business that contracts so its about 3 months on and then 3-4 months off) and the company is not approving anyone for unemployment because there is work through the company but it is in a town that is 3 hours from where we live.  

We are trying to budget wisely and micro manage money until either he finds a new job (he is planning on taking a week off to spend with me and our DS and then jumping right into looking) or there is a new contract in place.  We have to budget tightly because we are due with our second child in October (it was a surprise baby but very much wanted by both of us and DS) and I have been having complications this pregnancy and cannot work.

I am wanting to start couponing, and definitely making a weekly meal plan to help cut out on junk and organize our grocery spending.  If we have to we will apply for FS but we would rather not unless absolutely necessary. 

Is there any website you use for recipes or creating a meal plan? What about coupons? Do any of you use them? What is a good site for it?

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by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 5:19 PM
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Replies (1-9):
jessicasmom1
by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Hi Welcome! Before I bought from the farm , I would clip coupons still if I find something I really like and it is a coupon I will use it. Truthfully most the company's have on sale are brand names and I buy whatever is cheaper be if off brand or a sale. I would buy whole chicken then break it down for a few meals , buy the rolls of beef they usually come out cheaper in the end make a few things for this. Beans, Pasta, Sloppy Joes, Taco's, Spaghetti, Chicken salad, chicken fajitas, chicken chili are some ideas. 

MissMia22
by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

I have no idea how to make a whole chicken (plus I am not big on dark meat) I already buy the beef logs and I also buy ground turkey I portion them into 1# each and put 1 thing opf beef and 1 thing of turkey in a freezer bag and when I need some ground meat I pull out one zip lock bag at a time.

I try to buy the off brand whenever I can because they are normally cheaper after I use my shopper card.

SweetLuci
by Platinum Member on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Welcome to the group. Planning can help you save and get through this difficult time.  Rather than couponing, you might find you can save more by buying store brands. Make a list of what you have on hand and try to fit that into your meals. Check the news flyers to see what's on sale at your grocery. Try not to use prepared foods. Are you using 1 lb of meat for a meal for 2 adults and a young child? That's more protein than needed. Cutting down on meat and eating more veggies and grains can save a lot. It won't even be noticed in things like saghetti sauce, casseroles, soups etc. Try using dried beans-very cost saving, and healthy.

4kidz916
by Melissa on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Welcome to the group.  I've found that using only half the amount of meat in a recipe helps save my budget.  For example instead of 1 lb ground beef in spaghetti sauce, I use only 1/2 lb.  I make bean or veggie based meals as well.  Make meals from scratch instead of buying the boxed meals, that will also save a lot.  I also try to plan my meals around each other. For instance if I'm making soup that uses carrots, potatoes, and celery, I'll plan another meal that week that uses those same veggies.  Good luck.

MissMia22
by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:55 PM

DF and DS both eat quite a bit and I tend to make extra so we can eat leftovers for lunch the next day (although that doesn't work lately as DF's cousin is staying with us and eats everything in the fridge :/)

starlight1968
by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 11:37 PM
1 mom liked this

 do you have a crockpot?  You can make several things in them and then use leftovers for another meal..ie: roast-beef stew, whole chicken-soup or stew.

MissMia22
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 1:47 AM

I do. I have a large crock pot and a smaller one. I have made brisket, ribs, chicken and dumplings, stew, and meatballs in it.

aenima49
by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 8:17 AM

Try a grocery game trial.  It helps a lot with coupon matchups!

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on Jun. 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM
1 mom liked this

I have used couponmom.com to help match coupons to store sales, and she'll personalize it to your favorite store.  Sometimes it's cheaper to buy this way, sometimes store brand is still less expensive.

Personally, I've found that cooking from whole foods instead of boxed/canned is cheaper.  I also don't buy pasta (it fills you up...for a couple of hours, then you're hungry again), cereal (cold cereal and milk are expensive breakfasts), or bread.  We also don't use legumes very often.  These are personal preferences, but I can plan meals for standard diets on a dime, too.

As for meal planning on a budget, I've used 5dollardinners.com and hillbillyhousewife.com.

Cheap ideas for breakfasts:  egg bakes (stretches a few eggs to feed more people), homemade pancakes, quick cook or old fashioned oatmeal (you can change up the toppings to make a large variety), muffins, homemade hashbrowns and fried eggs.

Lunches:  leftovers (you said you already do this), tuna patties w/side salad, sandwiches (pb & j or banana, egg salad, tuna salad), homemade soups (if it's not too hot for you)

Dinners:  beans & wienies casserole, stir fry (can stretch meat to feed a crew), taco salad, chicken & rice casserole, oven fried chicken legs....there's too many to mention.  If you're really interested, I can do the whole list.


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