Cost Cutting: 4 Meal Planning
Part of the key for me on saving money while eating Paleo is having a meal plan. It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a fan of surprises or spontaneity. I would love to have a more free-spirited, carefree side, but I just don’t. I like things a certain way, and when I go outside of that way I freak out slightly (though slightly might be an under-exaggeration in some people’s opinion ;))
This mentality is however a great asset in saving money. By having a game plan of what we are having for meals I am left without the 4:30 question of ‘what is for dinner’. I have it planned ahead, and I can prepare during the time I do have, like after dinner while my husband is getting the kids baths or during nap times.
For me, the old adage is completely correct: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Now I’m not saying that when I don’t plan we end up in the Burger King drive-thu ordering gluten laddered burgers and fake-fat fried potatoes. I just mean that I am not working within my optimum nutritional and financial planning parameters. My life revolves around organization. I work best when I know what is going on.
One misconception about menu planning is that you are stuck with a meal, whether you feel like it or not. This is not the case. I hear people say, ‘I never know what I will feel like eating’. That is fine. So maybe, instead of planning out the meal for each day, plan a list of 7-8 meals that you have the ingredients on hand for and pick and choose each night. Take 2 or 3 meat items out of the freezer that you will use over the next couple nights, that way you are planning ahead, but still have some movement.
I use a recipe box system, filed by meat categories. As you can see, it is absolutely nothing fancy. This allows me to look in my freezer, or my local ads, or the butcher’s deals and pick which category I want to eat out of. For instance, I may have a roaster chicken, 5 lb roast, package of ground meat and a package of sausage. I can look in my recipe box, pick out a recipe for the roaster chicken as well as a recipe for the leftover chicken from the roaster the next day. The same for the roast.