Meal planning with a budget

I have meal planned before. Mostly just dinners and with no budget. Just made a list of dinners that we would have for that week, make the shopping list, and then bought it. I used to meal plan breakfast & lunch but once my first two kiddos started school, I stopped.
Things have changed, I have 4 kiddos in school (with 2 year old & soon to be newborn at home). During the school year isn’t bad since 4/6 eat at school. Summer time & school vacations are a different story. Dinners aren’t effected but not planning breakfast & lunch just throw me a curve ball. And it’s not like I am surprised when they are home…I have the school schedule!

I have also never planned with a budget before. Like I said, just wrote out what we wanted and then bought it. Should it be no surprise when I tell you that we, usually, run out of our food budget each month before the month is over!? It shouldn’t!
We usually go to the store with a list. Rarely do we go without or hungry. (<—— bad idea by the way!)

This month I am changing that. This month I am going to be aware of our budget & use it.
We will sometimes have to sacrifice meals that want to have meals we can afford. I will have to take time out of my day each week to look up ads, look at what is on sale, and plan our meals around that.
Will it be a pain? Probably.
Will it be worth it? Definitely.

We have a small budget to work with & it needs to feed 7 people, 3 meals a day + some snacks & a few desserts.

I will be updating how things are going, what I am doing, and some recipes if anyone is interested. I’ll give as much detail as I can.
I was already to start meal planning today but the 2 stores that we are going to do our shopping at, their new weekly ads don’t come out until tomorrow. So I will sit down with my pen & paper tomorrow for dinners. I have made my weekly list for lunch & breakfast.

I will be posting things & hopefully I can share something useful to you & you can share the same with me. This is a first & I am sure that I will mess up. But at least I’m learning!

Any tricks/tips or recipes that you have would be awesome!

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6 thoughts on “Meal planning with a budget

  1. A lady that helped me (continues to help and inspire me) has a youtube channel called ‘kianna leading superwomen in training’. She posted several videos about meal planning on a budget and smart shopping. She also talks about couponing. My advice? Salvage grocery stores. I’d heard a lot about this but for a long time was resistant to shop in one. Well, I finally did. There are some awesome deals. Just be sure to check your expiration dates. Also, buying larger cans of vegetables and fruits can be cheaper and are usually found at most grocery stores. I’ve found stuff like a 7lb can of diced carrots for 2.99. As far as meal planning, consider sources of foods. A bag of dried lentils costs about 79-99 cents and is a good source of protein. Lentils are also easily seasoned. We have used them to make tacos, even. Add in a dollars worth of vegetables and you’ve got a taco/wrap dinner that feeds 5+ for only a few dollars. Just stuff like that, you know. Its all about getting creative. And if you burn something, be sure to remind your family that upscale restaurants charge extra for that. In fact, don’t even use words like burned and ruined. Its called “flambe” and “blackened” and “charcoal”.

    • Thanks, I’ll check out her channel! What do you mean salvage grocery stores? Is that a chain of stores or do you mean stores like Aldi? My husband grew up on lentils & they are not allowed to enter our household, ha! I am sure that I can find something similar to that though. We really enjoy black beans. I bet I could make a few meals with cans of that & it taste good.

      I am just going to have to do a trail & error thing until I figure this out. I will be posting an update either tonight or tomorrow about what I have done so far. I am interested to see if I stayed within budget & what needs to be fixed. We’ll all find out together πŸ™‚

      • Salvage stores aren’t chains but grocery stores that sell dented cans or boxes, sometimes bulk deals, restaurant size bulk items (sometimes), and stuff like yogurt that is nearing its expiration date (which, large families go through stuff faster anyway). Most of the stuff is super cheap and brand name items. Google salvage stores and your zip code. The closest to me is an hour drive. They don’t get the same items in every time, but they look and function like traditional stores. just may have a couple more “everything bins” to look through. Its actually a lot of fun πŸ™‚ and who doesn’t like to save money? I’ve found bags of pasta for a quarter and also some fresh locally grown items. Each salvage store is different.

I look forward to your comments & try to reply to every single one of them :)

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