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Meal planning with a budget – how did I do?

Like I said previously I have meal planned before but never stuck to or made any sort of budget to go along with it.
Things had to change since we were running out of our allotted food budget before the month was over. Not every month but I would say close to.
This month I decided to change that. I didn’t know how the first time would go since we have 7 mouths to feed on a small food budget. I had posted on Facebook asking friends what they did & if they had any tips/tricks. Very helpful tips from friends! I also went to my Pinterest boards to use what I pinned.

Were we live, stores don’t double coupons nor do they have deal days, or anything else along those lines. We don’t have every many grocery stores to choose from either. I knew coupons wouldn’t help nor would really be an option. So I needed to find different ways of saving money while feeding my family the best that I could.

I found this pin when I started looking through my budget board. With a heading like that, there was no way that I could pass up clicking on it & seeing if this would be helpful for me!
food budget
Some of her tips that she gave I was already going to do. One tip she said that once you do your weekly (or bi-weekly) grocery shopping, do NOT go back into the grocery store for anything until your next meal planning shopping trip. How does one do that!? What if you run out of eggs or sugar or milk or……
We are going to try & do this. We will see how well that goes. Since this is our first time doing this, I won’t beat ourselves up too much if we do go back before our next weekly shopping trip.

My mission was to plan 3 meals a day for 7 people with $225 per week. This seemed overwhelming and not possible.
When the new weekly ads came out for the 2 stores that we would be shopping at (United & Aldi), I sat down at the computer with a notebook & pen and started to make meals around what was on sale. I went back & forth on my browser windows looking for what I could get from both stores to make meals. My attention span was starting to loose it! I finished writing down our meals and then needed to take a break.

This is our week of meals:
Breakfast:
Monday- Oatmeal with chocolate chips/canned fruit/cinnamon & sugar/peanut butter/chocolate spread. Any of those they could use.
Tuesday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Wednesday- Pancakes & fruit (watermelon)
Thursday- Yogurt, fruit, & granola
Friday- Cereal & toast/bagel
Saturday- Biscuits & sausage gravy casserole
Sunday- Egg boats

Lunch:
Monday- Sandwiches (pb&j or lunch meat) & chips
Tuesday- Tuna & canned fruit
Wednesday- Mummy dogs & fries
Thursday- Grilled sandwiches & chips
Friday- Mac & cheese and peaches
Saturday- BLT
Sunday- Leftovers

Dinner:
Monday- Chicken drumsticks & fries
Tuesday- Ribs & fresh corn
Wednesday- Half pork loin & fresh asparagus
Thursday- Hamburgers & chips
Friday- Salmon, rice, & frozen veggies
Saturday- Leftovers
Sunday- There was no name for this meal, here is a picture
Dinner

As I was writing down the items from the ads, I also was writing down what the price was. Whether it was BOGO or 3/$5. Whatever the price was, I wanted to make sure to write it down so that when I got to the store, I knew exactly which sale price I was going off of. I also went to grab an ad at both stores but they were gone.

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I then made a list of what was going to be purchased from each store with the price that was in the ad. I figured since this was my first time, I needed to be safe rather than sorry.
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Along with these lists (I am most definitely a list person!) I made a list that were staple items or items that we needed but weren’t for our meals. For example, our oldest son is going away to a camp for a week & he needed some food items to take with him. I didn’t want to include the price of that with out meal planning budget. I am hoping that we with this budget, that we will have money leftover for extras……ice cream, cupcakes for school, or making a meal if someone needs it….things like that. In order to keep track of of what was the total of meal planning & then the extras, I did 2 separate transactions at both stores. I figured that would be a lot easier than trying to go through the receipt & figuring out that myself. Less headache = happier Mommie 🙂

Our first stop was United. We stuck to the list pretty well. We let the kiddos know ahead of time that we were going by a list & we didn’t hear any “Can I haves?” They all agreed. But who wants to start taking bets on who actually listened!?
As the guy was ringing up our items, I started to get nervous. Were we actually going to be able to stay within budget? If we went over, how much? Would it affect the rest of the month or could I make it work? I should also mention that I had to swap out 2 meats that were on sale. It would have cost much more to buy the amount needed for these meats than it was worth the savings.
Instead of getting ribs for $2.49/pound, we ended up going with a brisket at $3.08/pound.
We couldn’t find the salmon that was in the ad. It was $12.99/pound and we ended up going with Swai fillets (frozen, in a bag) for $7.99.

When he told us our total, I was shocked!
$141.10
I thought I did so well! How could I not?! I thought, “Wow, we are really under budget! I did way better than I thought I would.” Once I got back home that night, I realized that we still had to go to Aldi the next day. So my high was temporary…..bummer.

The next evening we went to Aldi. I knew we would spend less here but I wasn’t sure how it would come out for our budget. I didn’t do any math going into Aldi. Meaning I didn’t figure out how much we had left over in our budget to spend here. I wanted to just do it and do the math when we got home. Our damage at Aldi was $78.41.

Here is the math:
$141.10 – United, 44 items
$78.41 – Aldi, 49 items
$219.51 – Total, 93 items (budget was $225 per week)
Divided this by 21 (number of meals)
$10.45 per meal
Divided by 7 (number of people)
$1.49 per person, per meal

For the first time, I think that I did pretty well!
Some weeks will be better and some won’t be as great. That’s ok, it’s all a learning process.
What do you think? Can you give me tips for a better savings next time? Can you beat my savings? Tell me! I would love to hear how you do this with your family!

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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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Wanna play a game!?

She has asked me to help manage her page during the day, which I feel so honored that she asked me, and I want to help her out with sales as much as I can.
So I asked her & ran an idea by her last night about what I had in mind. She said she thought it was a good idea, so now we just have to start the details.

I wanted to help spread the word about the game & share with you all too so if you were interested or know someone who might be you could tell them about it.

We do know that we will be giving away discounts, bogo, and gift certificates as prizes!
We will do trivia questions. With each question there will be an equal prize.

Easy answers get smaller prizes & harder questions get bigger prizes.
I am hoping that maybe we can do this monthly to keep fans coming back & sales up on her end.
Plus this is going to be fun!!!!

So if you want to play, please follow this link to join in! Spread the word too 🙂

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Wanted:

As many of you know, we have a lot of sister sites! Many aren’t active (no one to blog for those sites) and\or life is happening to the ones that are blogging! I completely understand & I am not here to talk about those people and their reasons.

I am here in search of women who are wanting to join our sister sites! There are some topics already in place but we welcome any & all topics! I have changed a few things behind the scenes, so it is more in your hands to design & name the blog! You write for\about it….you should be in charge of it!

Here are the topics that are already in place:
Lawmen
Multiple
Natural
Savings
Single
TTC
Weightloss
Special Needs
Linewive
Military
Teen
Truckdriver

We are always looking to add to these topics & always looking to add topics! We know that there are so many mothers out there that are going through something…..good, bad, ugly, and indifferent! Come to us to talk & share about it. We are a very welcoming group of mothers! If you would like to become apart of the sister sites, please feel free to email me at mommieventures@gmail.com! I look forward to hearing from you very soon!

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So here is your chance…..

For some free & discounted advertising with me! Here is my idea…hopefully it will make sense 😉

I will give out discounts off of what is a $20 value….starting at free & ending at $15.

This is going to be as fair as I can make this! I will make an album with pictures that will represent the business\company that wants to participate in this contest.

You will have to spread the word about your business\company being in this contest & get as many ‘like’s on your picture as you possibly can. The winners will be chosen by the number of votes you have.

If would you like to be apart of this contest, please email me at mommieventures@gmail.com. Only enter this contest if you are honestly willing to pay (no more) than $15 for your business\company to be advertised on my blog. This contest will start when I get at least 4 businesses\companies…but even more than that can enter.

Here is how the prizes will be given out:
First Prize- Free ad for 1 month
Second Prize- $5 ad for 1 month
Third Prize- $10 ad for 1 month
Fourth Prize- $15 ad for 1 month.

Again, if you would like to enter this contest, want more details, or have questions please email me at mommieventures@gmail.com! This contest will end on 09\30\11…so you better hurry!

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The Lucky Butterfly

The Lucky butterfly is our first ad!!!!

She has also offered all you MommieVentures readers out there a 20% discount through the entire month of September! How awesome is that?! {Use coupon code MOMMIEVENTURES}

Check out her website & fan page! Her ad will run until 09\30\11 & will be located in the upper right hand side of the blog!

The Lucky Butterfly offers reuseable snack & sandwich bags for both boys & girls!

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Feedback please!!!

How would you all like a contest\giveaway for a free month of advertising & discounted advertising?!

I have some ideas in my head but wanted to see if people were even interested in this. So please comment on this blog & let me know if you would be interested in something like this!

PS- I had previously commented on a question from a fan about the advertising. I had replied saying that as long as it’s business, I can advertise it….but I am changing that! Whatever you want to advertise (as long as it’s yours) then I would love to display it on my blog!

{Insert feedback down below, please & thank you :)}

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9 Tips on Saving Money in a Tough Economy

*Received this in an email from Simple Green*

9 Tips on Saving Money in a Tough Economy
Like everyone, we’re all noticing big changes in the costs of nearly everything we purchase lately. This topsy-turvy economy has everyone a bit worried. What can you do to easily save money on everyday purchases and help put a little extra money in your pocket? Here’s a list of 9 ways to SAVE SOME GREEN!
Save money by saving gas. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and that your oil has been changed recently. Both measures help to ensure that your car is running smoothly and efficiently, and an efficient car is a car that uses less gas.
Collect all of the change in jars, pockets, drawers and purses and put it to work. Bring the change to the bank where you have your savings account and deposit it. It does nothing for you sitting in an old jar or at the bottom of your purse.
Use what you have before you buy more. If you have half-empty shampoo bottles, hotel- or sample-sized bottles, or partially-used tubes of lotion, make a point to use up what you have already. Waste of product is a waste of money.
You’ve heard it before…switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Sure, they cost a little more to buy, but they last much longer and in the meantime use less energy. Buy them in multi-packs if you can and look to your local energy provider for rebates and other incentives.
Use rechargeable batteries. If you have kids, you know everything seems to run on batteries. Again, there is a small financial outlay at first to buy the batteries and charger (look to price clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club for bulk deals on batteries) but in the long run you will purchase fewer of them and help save on batteries ending up in landfills.
Bottle your own water. Not only will you help save the planet by producing less waste, but you’ll save money too. Purchase a faucet filter or pitcher with a filter and refill a plastic sports bottle instead of buying water in small bottles.
While you’re at it, make your own coffee. I know, this is sacrilege for some people, but it can be done. Even if you splurge on the fancy creamers, you’ll still save money over buying your coffee at some fancy coffee place.
Hang your laundry. Most people can hang their laundry outside in the sun and warmer weather. Hang just three loads of laundry a week in the great outdoors, and you’ll save over two hours of dryer time a week. That’s a nice chunk of electrical savings each month. Live in a colder climate? Buy an inexpensive clothing rack and dry your clothing in a warm laundry room or bathroom.
Switch to a concentrated all-purpose cleaning solution, like Simple Green. By switching to a concentrated formula like Simple Green, you can control how much you use each time you clean by diluting for each job. At an average use-dilution, a single gallon of Simple Green will make 11 gallons of general purpose cleaner. And only buying one bottle for all of your cleaning jobs, as opposed to many expensive bottles, will not only save money, but also time and cabinet space.
Adapted from an article by www.pocketyourdollars.com

Simple Green Fanpage
Simple Green Website

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Initials, Inc. (Erinn Giblin)

Hi! I’m Erinn Giblin, and I’m proud to say that I am a Creative Partner with a fabulous company called Initials, Inc.  Initials, Inc. is a national Home Party Plan company offering only the best in personalized products.  As a result, Initials Inc. has blossomed into a personalization company like no other. Through parties, catalogs, and more you will discover a wide array of super cute, sassy, and durable bags, totes, towels, purses, and organizational tools among a ton of other items. We seek to blend quality products with unique creative opportunities. Every item in our catalog comes with free personalization which includes over 40 different ribbon trim options, limitless combinations of embroidery colors and fonts, and a collection of personality icons to boot!
 
Right now, I am having a Spring/Summer Celebration to celebrate the early release of 10 Brand New spring catalog items! (See Attached Flyers!) Visit my facebook fan page to learn how you can win $100 worth of beautiful products!

 
As a creative partner, I am always looking to inspire women daily. Initials, Inc. has created a wonderful opportunity for me to gain some independence by earning extra income, meeting new women, and truly enjoying what I do. We believe in dreaming big and making those dreams reality. I encourage other women out there to consider joining my Initials, Inc. team so they may experience the same rewarding opportunities Initials, Inc. has made possible for me. There’s only one you, and there’s only one now! Here are some of the amazing reasons I joined Initials, Inc.
Outstanding Career Plan
Fun Business Opportunity
Free Personalization—always!
25% commission on everything you sell
Incredible bonus opportunities
Online ordering through your replicated website
Electronic customer Newsletter
Amazing incentive trips and rewards
For a limited time, you can join Initials, Inc. for just $11! (See Attached Flyer) Visit my website below or contact me for additional information. I would love to tell you more about this exciting opportunity!

 
Website: www.myinitials-inc.com/erinngiblin
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/initialsincerinng