Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a gorgeous girl who was grocery shopping. She had a rough list that included staples like milk and bread, but no real plan for items that would magically transform themselves into dinner. She would wander the aisles, looking for something that would inspire her, before tossing into her cart an overpriced piece of meat that would go wasted in the freezer because she forgot all about it. I shudder even telling that story. I shudder because that gorgeous and thin (this is the internet, I get to be whoever I want to be.) girl was me. For years.
At the time, it didn't seem all that awful to me. I didn't realize how much time and money I was wasting because I didn't plan ahead. And I'm a planner by nature, so how could this have happened?
I don't remember what inspired me to start planning meals out in advance, but it has changed my life. Really. No kidding, planning a month's worth of meals out has saved thousands of dollars and hours of time. It's so simple... so why doesn't everyone do it? Probably because they have oodles of time and billions of dollars. But I do not... and if you don't either, try this. You can thank me later.
I know lots of people who plan out a week's worth of meals at a time and they use the weekly ads to see what's on sale so they can really save some money. This is a terrific idea... know why I don't do it? Because I like having the whole calendar filled up. I am that ridiculous.
Here's my meals for July:
After I had my youngest son, I had a hard time getting back into my normal routine... he needed a lot of attention (translation: he was a crier. Big time.) so I went to the store with no plan. I felt like a child lost at an amusement park; there was plenty of things to look at, but I had no guide and needed to use the bathroom. Anyway, I went back to my meal planning and never looked back.
Before I planned my meals, we would spend $250 - $300 every two weeks on groceries... now, I can spend $75 - $100 a week and have every meal mapped out for me. I would have calculated how much I have actually saved, but when I started adding it up in my head, my eyes started to cross and the world grew dark. It's a lot.
Please try it. Try it for one week. Try it for two days. Just try it. You won't know how you lived so l long without it.