We (drum roll please) are going to reduce our food bill by 1/3. Yay! Awesome! We're going to save soooo much money! Oh wait, how am I going to do that? What am I going to cut out? How do I keep our diet healthy?! My solution: go to Google. In this case, I don't really like what Google says.
You see, most sites list menu planning, or meal planning, as the most important thing you can do to save money. I don't like menu planning. It's boring. It limits my creativity. It puts me in a box. And it can help me achieve my goal. Bother.
So I've written down a basic outline of meals based on what we currently have. We stuck to it this week (with a Taco Bell exception) and I'm pleased with this small success. On to the next week! And on to planning my shopping list! And here's where I run into a problem. I've calculated what I can buy this upcoming week. I've written down where to go to get the best price. I've done this before. And guess what? I walked out with stuff NOT on my shopping list. How do I achieve success this time? The only thing I could come up with was to shop without the kiddos, because my attention is too easily diverted when they're with me. We'll start there.
Here's my menu plan for the upcoming week:
Monday-Salmon patties with homemade bread (Sams sells salmon patties for a reasonable price)
Wednesday-Tacos (with beans from the previous day's chili)
Thursday-Sandwiches (homemade bread)
Saturday & Sunday-Sandwiches (homemade bread)
Lunches are sandwiches or quinoa with vegetables. Breakfasts are oatmeal or cereal (or pumpkin bread if I motivate myself to make it). You will note that this diet is high carb; my low-carb diet is out the window at the moment. I'm still tracking my intake and hope to keep it around 200 grams. We're also not Paleo. I can't afford the grass-fed beef and super-healthy chicken so I don't want to be consuming copious amounts of the inferior product. I will try to purchase organic fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market and I'm thinking I might start making leaf teas for the kids to drink in place of milk. In a weird way I'm excited; I can't magically increase my salary but I might be able to increase our available income by managing our food intake better. I won't be making my own cleaning or skin care products (I'm done with crunchiness for now) but I can reduce what we use right now.
Sounds fun, right? Right. I will have fun. I will stick to a plan. I am motivated. I still don't like meal planning.