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Meal Planning

Last post 01-03-2012 10:04 AM by grame. 12 replies.
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  • 12-21-2011 9:56 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Meal Planning

    We know we can save if we plan ahead. Watching sales, stocking when the deals are good and sticking to the shopping list and creating menus are all money saving techniques.

    What are your best meal planning strategies? Let's encourage each other to save!

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 12-21-2011 11:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    Hi Brandy, all the things you already mentioned, plus I am really focusing on using my leftovers. If possible, I'll turn something into a soup, one of my favorite ways to eat anything. Plus, multi-purposing food items. I.E., I recently bought a couple marked down bone-in chicken breasts. I used the white meat for oven baked chicken Parmesan and the bones and skin for soup. So for about $2.50 I got at least two big meals. (really more like four...but this is a one-person household).

    Some time ago I made up some meatballs. Frankly, they were a little tough, but they will be great in a slow simmered beef veggie soup.

     

    I'm always thinking about how I can do more than one thing with any food item. Right now I've got some cold chicken in the fridge. The original meal was chicken tenders, baked potato and green been casserole. Now I'm thinking the leftover chicken will be great in fried rice with green onions, thinly sliced carrots, a handful of frozen peas and a touch of soy sauce.

     

    I grind old bread into crumbs, I cut away nasty pieces from vegetables in the crisper...anything to extend the life and usefulness of my groceries.

     There are other things, but it's someone else's turn now.  Smile

     

    hugs, bw

    budgetwise



    "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Ps. 139:14
  • 12-21-2011 7:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    For me I try to create a menu from the items in the house first..Example say I have a few Boneless chicken breast/jar of sauce/shredded cheese/noodles/baked pototoes...I could make chicken parmesan served w/ noodles however to get two meals I could do baked chicken served w/ potatoes and then just plain old spaghetti for meal #2. So I try to think logically as well..

    I have a menu sheet that breaks it down w/ these coluums that I try to use... 1-Name of Meal 2- Side dishes 3- Sides dishes 4- Freezer/Thaw 5- Pick up at store.. What I try to do is start with column 4 and add all the meat/meals (freezer meals previously created like Lasagna) items I have then I start adding all the extra things needed around/to create the meal. 

    http://jayashiangel.blogspot.com/

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  • 12-22-2011 9:31 AM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    I also try to plan my meals with what I have on hand.  I also buy meats on sale, even if they're something I don't buy usually.  I've found some great recipes this way.  When I get home I look up recipes to cook the cuts I've found.  I found out my kids really like chicken drumsticks and thighs this way, when before I only bought boneless breasts.  I bought some country style pork ribs for 89c per pound and found a great crock pot recipe for them too.  Normally I'd grill those, if I bought them, but it wasn't great weather out, which is why they were on sale I think.  Having the kids and my husband cook sometimes and figure out what they want to make is also helpful, because they choose things that I wouldn't even think of to cook.  My husband made barbeque tofu and the kids loved it, so that's now on my rotation. 
  • 12-22-2011 10:18 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-28-2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Meal Planning

    My meal planning begins with relying on simple meals that use few ingredients. The ingredients are easy to find and often are long lasting so I can keep them on hand at all times.

    My next step is knowing my target prices. This the price I am willing to pay for an item based on regular price and routine sale prices. When items are at their target price I replenish my stock. In the case of meat and produce, I buy the items that are the best value, often the lowest price. If everything is outside my target price then I get lettuce and tomatoes only.

    Now I have my pantry and freezer well stocked with the foods we use for meals. My menu planning consists of choosing from the options I have on hand for a meal. Typically this means I select a meat, a veggie and choose between bread, pasta, rice or potato as another side dish. We have a salad almost every night in addition to these.

    And there we have a frugal and homecooked meal on the table with choices that allow my family to eat different foods in portions that personal needs demand.

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • 12-22-2011 9:19 PM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    My best meal planning stratagies are as easy as 1 2 3

    1 - do inventory to see what I have and what I need that week

    2- shop for whatever I need - produce hauls and sales, discounts, coupons, etc. ... and now with recent inventory I am aware of what I have to work with

    3 - base menu planning around what I have at home... I like to plan for a week or up to about 10 days at a time. It's fun to assign meals to certain days but I don't always stay on track so my menu planning is a basic guideline for the week rather than a set in stone menu plan. There is always room for change but having a well drafted idea helps save money, time and effort. I consider it a crucial tool in frugal living. Great post Brandy!!! Ps. I do my menu plans on my computer with Word document and chart/column format.

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 12-23-2011 4:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    Budgetwise, great answers but now it's your turn again. Others have left comments and I am sure I am one of many who would love to read more about what you do... smile... please keep sharing!!!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • 12-23-2011 8:28 AM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

     We do a two-week plan, which we review and tweak at the end of each week. I use a lot of what's already on here, but the other thing we do is make sure to take our schedule into consideration. We both have really variable schedules, and so when planning we make sure that hectic or late nights get fast meals or slow cooker meals, for example. One of the biggest pitfalls we ran into several years ago when we started this was to over estimate the time we'd have on some evenings to cook.

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

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  • 12-26-2011 12:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

     I live alone so I often focus on recipes that freeze well in small portions. Some of my favorite things include black bean burgers, empanadas and soups.

     I like to make them together so that if I have leftovers from one recipe, I can try to use them in the next. I spend a day cooking but then I have meals portioned out in tupperware to freeze or pop in the fridge for meals in the next couple of days. It saves me money on ingredients, allows me to eat leftovers instead of waste them and also keeps me from being tempted to just order out. 

    Travelated
    Laugh Rich, Travel Cheap
  • 12-26-2011 6:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Meal Planning

    Foodie4ever:

     I live alone so I often focus on recipes that freeze well in small portions. Some of my favorite things include black bean burgers, empanadas and soups.

     I like to make them together so that if I have leftovers from one recipe, I can try to use them in the next. I spend a day cooking but then I have meals portioned out in tupperware to freeze or pop in the fridge for meals in the next couple of days. It saves me money on ingredients, allows me to eat leftovers instead of waste them and also keeps me from being tempted to just order out. 

    A great money saver, for sure. I've tried making long range meal plans, but got bored with it. Late at night, when I'm getting hungry, seems to be a good time for me to think about what I'd like the next day. Smile

     

    budgetwise



    "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Ps. 139:14
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