So Mr. Man and I are in full time save mode-we’re moving back to Florida within the next 3 weeks, and we don’t know when we’ll be returning to work. We’re not 100% where we’d like to be financially, so we’re being as frugal as possible. Every week, I sit down with my weekly menu planner, and plan out a weeks worth of meals. This is especially important right now, because when it comes time to move I don’t want to have to throw anything away.
So here’s a look at our 3 shelf pantry. Is it organized the way I want it to be? No. I’d like for everything to be in baskets, but since we don’t have an actual pantry (and I can’t drill holes in the walls because our landlord won’t let us) and we’re trying to keep our “stuff” count low, this is what I have to work with. Promise you, when we get to the next job, our pantry is going to look 100% different.
Once we get an enclosed trailer, I will be able to keep a stockpile on hand, and shop with only coupons. I’m very, very excited for when this day finally comes!
Okay, so, here’s what I do for the week to plan my meals. I do this every Friday when Mr. Man gets his paycheck, and we head to Walmart as soon as he gets home. If your family gets paid on a bi-weekly basis, do this for 2 weeks out so you’re not making unnecessary trips to Walmart where it’s too easy to spend $100 every time you go in.
This is what I use as my weekly menu planner. I like it because I can write my shopping list on the side, and after the item I write (c) if I have a coupon for that item. I sit down and take a look at what I have in my pantry, cross reference it with the items I have coupons for, and think of the meals I can make based off of what I’ve already got on hand. Always check to make sure you’ve got enough to cover what you’re making. It also does hurt to check the sale papers to see what’s on sale too.
This has saved us so much time and so much money. For every one minute you spend planning, you save ten minutes in the future!
So here’s what my planner looks like when I’m done.
So that’s our menu for the week. Most of it is in my own short hand (veges are vegetables.. lol), and after using it for a few weeks, you will have a better indication of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Here’s how we live healthy, within our menu. We buy all whole wheat breads, and try to have a large salad with every meal. This leaves very little room for a cookie or two that Mr. Man has somehow snuck into the house. I eat oatmeal usually every other day, and alternate with whole wheat pancakes. Maple syrup? I cheat there. There’s somethings you just shouldn’t substitute. However, I use VERY little of it. The brand we use is 200 calories for 1/4 a cup, which is just enough to cover my pancakes. We also use no-yolk egg noodles, and I buy low/no fat on everything I can. We only buy 93/7 hamburger meat, and we buy frozen, prepackaged burgers for Mr. Man (yuk!) because it’s all he’ll eat-but it goes on a whole wheat bun. 🙂
Most pasta comes in a whole grain option as well, and it’s way better than regular pasta. Personally, I think it’s better tasting too!
I would recommend buying reusable Walmart bags! They will start charing for bags eventually, and when they do you can sure bet they’ll raise the price on these too! And, they’re better for the environment! They also hold a LOT more, so you don’t have to make as many trips in and out to bring everything in! 🙂