I made the call every day at 3:30. Checking on my boys as they arrived home from school. Part of our call always included taking a look at our composition notebook. They’d remind me of the meal plan for the day and take out the meat to thaw if needed. Maybe shred lettuce for a salad, chop vegetables, or put potatoes in to bake. By the time I arrived home, portions of the plan were well underway.
We know why we need to sit down around our dinner table as a family. It benefits our children and it benefits us. We have taken the most important step of getting organized. But a plan is just a plan until we execute it.
A well executed plan will save time, save money, reduce stress, and deliver that family dinner you want. Here’s how.
Create your meal plan & your shopping list
- Sit down on your designated planning day with your calendar and your recipe resources.
- Plan your meals for each day based on how much time you have to prepare it and how much time you have to sit down and eat it. More relaxed days can offer slightly more in-depth meals while your crazy days will need quick-prep or crock-pot meals.
- Write down the whole meal (dinner) – including sides. Fill out your shopping list as you do this – making sure you have all the ingredients for the main course and what you intend to serve as side dishes. This simple step saves a lot of money. You’ll only purchase what you plan to use so fewer fresh veggies and fruits will go bad.
- Use your previously organized recipes and cookbooks to add variety. Creative does not have to mean complicated.
- Check your staples in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry and make sure anything missing or almost empty is added to your list. Hopefully your family is already helping you with this.
Once you have your meals planned and your list ready – head to your store.
- I shop at one store – I know where everything is (except when they move it all around as happened a couple of weeks ago J), I can skip aisles that I don’t need to go down, and it saves a huge amount of time.
- Shop only to your list. When you do this you will automatically reduce your impulse purchases which will save you a lot of money over the course of a year.
- Shop only to your list. Don’t get lured in by BOGO offers for things not on your list. If you need what is on BOGO, get one and take advantage of the savings. My exceptions to this rule are coffee and mayonnaise. I’ll buy those even if they aren’t on my list when they are BOGO because they are usually so expensive.
- Shop only to your list but allow yourself flexibility. Take advantage of meats or vegetables that are on sale. Just be sure to update your menu plan and don’t buy both!
Now you are home with everything you need to Implement Your Plan
- Before you leave your house in the morning check your menu plan. Set out meat to thaw if needed or start your crockpot.
- Involve your kids or your spouse. If you are working or running late, call them when they get home from school and enlist their help in getting things started.
- Don’t over think this. You’ve spent the time to prepare, now it is just a matter of doing it!
Enjoy and reap the fruits of your labor