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Meal Planning Meal Planning

new to this....

Posted by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:22 PM
  • 11 Replies

 hey my name is alison and im new to meal planning, my fiance and i recently moved in with some of his family so now there are 5 of us living together and ive noticed that the food dont last long in this house at all.... for the most part all 5 of us are home for breakfast, lunch and dinner so food goes quickly. im looking to start planning meals for everyone to make food last a bit longer but i have no idea where to start.... were on a budget of about $200 for the month for food so i was wondering if any of you would be willing to help me out by sharing how you do it or share some meal ideas!!!!!

thanks in advance ladies !!!!!

by on May. 23, 2013 at 8:22 PM
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Replies (1-10):
louannwilkins
by on May. 23, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Hello Alison and welcome to the group!!  I'm sure you will like it here!  :)

What I try to do for saving money is buy things when they're on sale.  If hamburger is on sale try to buy a couple of packs and then seperate it into freezer bags.  I'm just using that as an example but it could be anything.  I also use coupons and look for sales where they either double or triple them.  Good luck!!  I'm sure you'll get lots of good tips here.   :)

bhwrn1
by on May. 24, 2013 at 5:28 AM

Welcome Alison! 
I'm not sure about $200/month. Food is very expensive where I am, so that would only be 1 week of groceries here! Do you coupon? I do a lot of coupons. I also make sure I look at the fliers and plan from that. Whatever is on sale, that is how I plan. I buy a lot of generic stuff too, when I can. 

firsttimer612
by on May. 24, 2013 at 11:13 AM
No i currently dont, i would love to learn how to do it like on extreme couponers lol or close to it


Quoting bhwrn1:

Welcome Alison! 
I'm not sure about $200/month. Food is very expensive where I am, so that would only be 1 week of groceries here! Do you coupon? I do a lot of coupons. I also make sure I look at the fliers and plan from that. Whatever is on sale, that is how I plan. I buy a lot of generic stuff too, when I can. 


drip
by Member on May. 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM
1 mom liked this

Food is expensive where I am also. I noticed that I have been using the following very frequently, in a variety of different ways: rice, pasta, potatoes, bread/butter to most meals. I always have bananas, salad makings, eggs...I can't seem to trim down the expenditure to not much better that $400 a month for 4 of us, may as well call us all here adults...oh, BTW, I don't use much in the way of coupons. We do have a "scratch and dent" grocer about 45 minutes away, I head there about every 6 weeks or so. In the past I have found Miserly Mom's books helpful. I hope that helps, anna

GypsiSky
by on May. 24, 2013 at 5:25 PM
1 mom liked this

Hi Alison, welcome to the group! I don't think I have any advice to give, lol. And I'm a raw vegan and my husband and kids are vegan, so I'm not sure if I have anything to offer in terms of meal ideas either. But this is a great group, I'm sure you will get lots of helpful advice!

DissieDothe
by Silver Member on May. 25, 2013 at 1:34 PM
1 mom liked this

The best place to start is making a meal plan. Then look at your recipes and tally up the cost. Just guess at the prices and if you don't know go to the grocery store and check. Then tweak you meal plans & recipes to fit your budget.

Hottmomma607
by Bronze Member on May. 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM
Hi Allison!
Sit down make meal plans from week to week. Write down all ingredients&estimate cost. Comparison shop, go to produce stores!
jessicasmom1
by on May. 25, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Hi Allison I agree make a meal plan and try to stick to it as much as possiable .. pasta, eggs, salad seem to strech some here ... comparison shop, and only shop the outer permiters of the store. Cook for scratch if possiable.

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on May. 26, 2013 at 6:47 AM


Quoting drip:

Food is expensive where I am also. I noticed that I have been using the following very frequently, in a variety of different ways: rice, pasta, potatoes, bread/butter to most meals. I always have bananas, salad makings, eggs...I can't seem to trim down the expenditure to not much better that $400 a month for 4 of us, may as well call us all here adults...oh, BTW, I don't use much in the way of coupons. We do have a "scratch and dent" grocer about 45 minutes away, I head there about every 6 weeks or so. In the past I have found Miserly Mom's books helpful. I hope that helps, anna

I used Miserly Mom's books a LOT several years ago!  She's the person that really got me looking at what I can buy vs. what I can make at home and it sure saved us a LOT of money during tight times!

michiganmom116
by Rhonda on May. 26, 2013 at 6:49 AM

OP:


I'm in the same boat some weeks.  There are even weeks during the summer that I have no money for groceries....and I'm feeding 2 adults and 3 teens.  My average grocery bill is anywhere from $60 to $100 a week, including meats.  I COULD do it for $200 a month if I had to, though.

Do you plan meals?  Do you cook from scratch?  Those 2 things right there will help save money.  Do you have an Aldi or Save A Lot near you?  (if you don't know, go to their websites and use the store locator)  Take the time to know store prices and where you can get things for less.  Walmart is NOT always the cheapest, either.  Buying store brand is often cheaper than buying name brand WITH a coupon, so be very careful when you use coupons.  Sometimes stores will double or triple coupon values or even offer store coupons, but watch your prices even then.  In November of 2010 I put couponing into practice for the month and ended up spending MORE than I typically spend in a month.  I don't coupon anymore unless I need non-food groceries...then I use Dollar General's $5 off $25 purchase coupons to get the things I need at DG.

I will often check the clearance areas in the produce/meat areas to get foods that are almost expired but can be frozen for later use.  Clearance veggies can be great in soups/stews/stir fry.  Clearance fruits can be frozen for smoothies.  Clearance meats are quickly frozen and used at a later date. 

Know your portion sizes.  1 banana is the equivalent of 2 portions.  1/2 cup is a standard portion for most other foods.  Sometimes we don't NEED all the food we think we do.

Drink water, home-brewed tea, or coffee at home.  Avoid fruit juice (100% sugar no matter how you look at it) and watch how much milk the kids are drinking.  24 oz. a day is all they need between drinking and cereal (if you have it), and that's not including any other dairy products.  If they have yogurt, they don't need 3 glasses of milk a day.  OH....I've got a "recipe" to make your own yogurt using milk and a crockpot with 1/2 cup of yogurt starter (plain yogurt with live active cultures).  When it's done, just add your own fruit or flavors.

Do you have any space for a garden?  Every little bit helps.  I know many people that even grow veggies in containers on their small balconies or patios.

I now follow a nutrient dense diet (no empty foods like pasta, bread, cereal, not many potatoes unless they're sweet potatoes, no legumes), but I can still give you ideas for meals.  I used to have $250 a month to feed a family of 7 (before my adult sons moved out in the past 2 years), and I did it.

Breakfasts:  cold cereal is expensive by the time you get done adding milk and if you don't measure portion sizes.  Don't get it unless it's free or nearly free.  Instead, make pancakes from scratch and top with fruit.  Buy oatmeal in the canister or in bulk instead of instant and add your own toppings (fruit, spices, raisins, peanut butter) to add variety.  Egg casseroles can stretch 4 to 6 eggs to make 12 good sized servings.  Frittatas with veggies are healthy and pretty cheap.  Homemade muffins and hard boiled eggs can be a filling breakfast.

Lunches:  deli meat and cheese is expensive for sandwiches.  Stick with egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad made from leftover chicken, PB & J, PB & banana.  Make hearty homemade soups for those that are home, or chef salads using leftover meat and simple veggies.

Dinners:  meat shouldn't be the centerpiece.  Casseroles will stretch it out, and there are plenty of options for healthy casseroles.  Stir fry will stretch a small amount of meat to feed the whole family, as will stew.  Make sloppy joes instead of burgers....1 lb. of ground beef or turkey will make 8 to 10 servings instead of 4 burgers.  If your family eats beans, baked beans/refried beans/calico beans/misc bean dishes can sub for meat.  Buy cheaper cuts of chicken (drums/legs or wings) and make casseroles, skillet meals, baked chicken with them.

Snacks:  make your own granola bars (I have a recipe), make your own trail mix, pop some popcorn kernels (not microwave popcorn bags), make smoothies with some of the homemade yogurt and frozen fruit with banana for sweetener and freeze them for popsicles.

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