Ok so we have just finished our 5 day series on Monthly Meal Planning. Thanks Mary Jenny sooo much for all the tips. If you missed it, go here to see all 5 posts. I wanted to recap my experience with it.
I was super nervous. Not gonna lie. I’ve been doing weekly meal plans for years but the idea of stretching to a month seemed impossible to me. But lately we have been making TONS of trips to the grocery store (like 3 a week) just to pick up random stuff and I was getting tired of it. I decided to try this out. This is my first time so I will keep a tight watch on how it goes for the rest of October and report back in. So let’s recap what I have done so far.
- I started by making my Monthly Staples list. I worked on this all week. I just kept it on my fridge and added as I thought of things. Then I just estimated what we would eat per month of each item. So for example, we typically go through 2 boxes of cereal a week. I wrote down we would need at least 4 boxes of the two kinds we like for the month. I know we go through at least 1 small peanut butter every 1-2 weeks so I figured 2 huge jars would be plenty for the month. I wrote that down on my monthly staples list (see this post in series for a template for that). I included the things I put in the kids’ lunches and our typical breakfasts and snacks as staples.
- Then I went ahead and planned my meals for the month (see this post in series for this template as well). I picked out recipes based on our busy days etc. Don’t forget we have this 30 meals in 30 minutes document. So I plugged in all my meals for the month.
- I then took the grocery list (see this post in series for that template) and plugged in what I would need to make all my dinner recipes. Then I looked at that staples list and plugged in everything that was not in my pantry that we needed for the month (ie we only had 1 half empty jar of PB left so I went ahead decided we needed the 2 new ones for the month). I also plugged in any types of baking I wanted to do- making sure we had stuff for our typical PB bites and bars, breakfast pizzas, blueberry breads etc.
- I joined a friend at Costco to check it out. I LOVED IT. I am almost 100% sure I am going to save money here. Example: we buy Honey Bunches of Oats cereal. It is 3.50/box at Giant. I got 3 huge boxes of it for $6.00 at Costco. SAVED. Same for almond milk, apples, bread, bagels etc.I came home and crammed it all in my fridge. I put a lot in my freezer – chicken, turkey, veggies. I also put bread in there. And yogurt. I bought a huge thing of yogurt tubes so I just stored in fridge.
- I still created a weekly meal list so I could put in lunches and breakfast and snacks for kids. So right now hanging in my kitchen is my monthly meal plan, weekly snap shot, and then a place where I can write down what I need to add to my monthly staples (so I can keep learning what we are using) and a place to write down what I need to buy in between trips.
My hope is that I am going to:
- Only have to make 1 small trip each week to get maybe bananas, milk….or something random but very small, very quick, and under $50 (aiming for more like $30)
- Go to Costco one time a month to get monthly meals and larger quantities of staple items. So at end of October, I will take back out the master pantry list, check off and see what is low, stock back up + buy meals for November and start again.
- Jacob and I spent time looking at our budget and we think we may be able to save close to $300/month doing this. How awesome would that be (that does not factor in the $110 I spent on membership). If we factored that in we still think we’d be around $280/$290. I’ll see for sure in November when I start on Nov 1 b/c this month I started a week late.
So at end of October I will report:
- If I was able to spend $50 or less each week on produce and perishables.
- If I made it to end of October using only my main staples.
Mary Jenny mentioned this but I want to be sure yall remember: SAVE YOUR MONTHLY MEAL PLANS. It wouldn’t be terrible to pull it out a month or two or six later and use it again one month!
ok savers! I’m excited!!! What kind of new stuff can I buy with $300 😉