Friday, September 27, 2013

Monthly Meal Planning with my Home Store

A few big changes are going on in our home. First, we're re-committing to living within a strict budget (a la Dave Ramsey) in hopes of paying off debt and saving. Second, my big boys are off to preschool four days a week which is pure bliss for this Mama! However, it also adds a big expense to our already tight budget. It's fall but Arizona hasn't fully caught on to that yet so temperatures are still in the mid 90s and on some days over 100 F. My electric bill is suffering or rather staying healthily strong at a staggering price. I could go on and on. I'm betting many of you are facing similar challenges. So I am blogging about how I am making it all work out in October {and months to come} by planning and budgeting using a monthly meal plan.

There are many, many resources out there for Monthly Meal Planning. I'll link to some of my favorite resources in a bit, but first let me tell you what I am bringing to the table that is a bit different. I'm using my Home Store. Truth is: I've got food in my house. We don't have bare cupboards and I am ever so grateful that we have put a little bit away when my grocery budget has been bigger. I'm also utilizing my Thrive Q to bring in ingredients that are cost effective, have zero waste and are healthy for my family. I'm also cashing in on some host benefits from a Thrive party and Expo I did over the summer. What do these host benefits mean? I am able to get A LOT of free and half off food to supplement my budget... like $140 in free food. Being a Thrive party host is awesome! You should try it some time ;) And yes, I'll even be visiting my local Sam's Club and grocery store for some groceries along the way.

I am kicking off the month by placing my Thrive Host Benefit order today and tomorrow I'll be shopping for all of my grocery needs in one big trip. The rest of the month I'll make weekly or every other week grocery trips to pick up things like produce, milk and eggs. I have a cash budget. When my money for the week is gone. It is gone.

On to my Meal Plan. I've thought long and hard about how I would approach this. My first instinct was to plan it all out. Every last detail to what we'd have for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Then I realized as organized as I am I just can't take that. I will do so much better with a list of meals that I 'can' make knowing I have everything in my home store and get the freedom to choose. I'll be sharing what I'm making for my family each day over on my Facebook page. If you haven't already please 'like' my page. Not into Facebook? That's okay too. I'll post a weekly recap here as well.

Some meals we will be eating this month: Spaghetti, Chicken & Broccoli Casserole, Taco Soup, Two Bean Tamale Pie, BBQ Chicken, Breakfast for Dinner, Pasta Florentine, Hamburgers w/ Potato Salad and Baked Beans, Enchiladas, Chicken and Rice Casserole, Chicken Alfredo... and so on. All meals will also be served up with salad and/or veggies along with homemade rolls, breads, etc.

So I'm sure you're wondering about the numbers. I'm posting my budget here and will let you know how it all sorts out at the end of my trip tomorrow and each week once I do my shopping.

October Grocery/Household Items Budget: 
$450 for my family of 7.

This budget also includes a birthday cake for my son Kyson and food for his family birthday party (this Sunday! Woo hoo) along with a few things we need around the house like garbage bags and dishwasher soap.

Where I am Spending What:
Thrive Host Benefit Order on 9/27: $60
Thrive Q Order on 10/15: $60
Sam's Club: $230
Grocery Store: $100 --> This will be divided by 4 and each put into separate envelopes for weekly shopping.

Come back Saturday late evening for a post sharing what I bought for the month - complete with pictures and a full round up of what I spent and where! On Monday I'll share my meal plans for the week!

Do you want to try this too? Check out all these great resources from my Pinterest Board on Meal Planning. I also really liked Lori Loomis' kindle book Operation Dinner: How to Plan, Shop & Prep for Easy Family Meals. If a month seems too much try doing just one week at a time. Dig around your freezer and pantry. Find ingredients to make your meals - see if you are missing anything. Try spending less on groceries in October than you have in previous months. Take that savings and use it to pay a bill, tuck away for savings or purchase Christmas or birthday gifts.

Leave me a comment to let me know you are joining in! It's always better when we try something new with a friend!

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