Menu Plan Monday

February 7, 2010

I am going to participate in Menu Plan Monday.

Since becoming inspired by the likes of The Frugal Girl and I’m an Organizing Junkie, I’ve been doing my own sort of challenges. I’ve started Food Waste Fridays, which led me to do my own Eat from the Pantry Challenge.

I had already had an eye-opening experience with this last summer when my son was put on a gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, egg-free diet. I was AMAZED at how much processed, flour food was in my home! I began trying to use up things I had on hand and began at that point trying to buy mostly what we needed for the week, instead of stockpiling. Well, he got off of that diet and I sort of slid back into my pattern of relying on prepared, processed foods on those days that I just hadn’t planned well enough and didn’t want to get fast food.

After poring over my statements last week and discovering how much money I WASTE (not to mention finding tons of great, inspiring blogs), I once again sought to simplify my life and start really working towards my goals (the two biggies are getting a new vehicle because mine is, I believe, on its last legs, er, wheels, and buying a house).

So, creating a Spending Plan, going on my own Eat from the Pantry Challenge, and anticipating Food Waste Friday naturally leads to menu-planning. Last week was the first try for me, and I must say, it was much less stressful than normal, knowing what we would be eating for dinner and not once getting fast food! I’ve tried menu planning before, but I’ve finally found the key to my success – I cannot plan it to a T, but if I have the main dish and maybe a side dish figured out, then I’m set. And in the process of thinking about Food Waste Friday, I’m amazed at how many days I can feed my family with what I thought was only a little food in my pantry and refrigerator. Apparently it’s much more than a little! Boy, have I been wasting money on food! So, in the spirit of frugalness, here is my week’s menu (I planned it on Saturday):

Sunday: beans and rice or soup

Monday: chicken sandwiches, fruit, veggies

Tuesday: organic mac and cheese (last prepared box of food in the pantry), Lil’ Smokies (last prepared food in the fridge/freezer), green beans

Wednesday: our standing pizza night, since it’s a church night and I only have half an hour between getting home and getting to church. We vary it on whether it’s bought hot, ready-to-bake, frozen, or homemade.

Thursday: spaghetti, green beans

Friday: steak, potatoes

By creating this menu on Friday, I discovered that I didn’t even have to go grocery shopping this weekend! Just one more reason it pays to plan.

The Spending Plan has been going well, too. It helps to be able to look at such specifics – much easier for me than just going straight to a budget. Which, of course, preceded the Spending Plan. I was never taught these things growing up and certainly never learned them when I was married, so I’m excited to be learning now and will be so excited when I actually meet one of my goals!

I’ve also created another challenge for my family – how much can we decrease our energy consumption (and thus, energy bill) by the next statement? So I’ve been reminding the kids to turn lights off when leaving the room, etc. I must admit, this is definitely an area where I’ve been lax. I hadn’t been too concerned with conserving energy, until I really looked at the last electric bill (it’s on automated payments, so I hadn’t been watching it real closely, knowing that it was getting paid anyway). It’s not that we’ve increased our usage – it’s exactly the same as it was last month, as well as last year – but it’ll be interesting to see how much we can bring it down just by awareness.

And now it’s off to make the sandwiches for tomorrow so I don’t resort to fast food!

(Since this linking up may increase traffic here now, does anyone have any suggestions or tips on cloth “pull-ups”? I’ve just discovered they are available and think I could save a ton of money if I go that route instead of the disposables – it’s only for nighttime, but for 3 kids. If it’s important, they are super skinny and very heavy wetters. This is my first venture in cloth “diapering”. Thanks for any help!)


3 Responses to “Menu Plan Monday”

  1. Ally said

    Hello there!

    Good luck on all your challenges! One tip that I discovered on saving energy is with the dryer. My dryer will beep when it’s done and if you don’t get to it in a specified amount of time it will start back up again. Once I turned that setting off…I noticed a difference in my bill.

    Have a blessed week!

  2. SnoWhite said

    thanks for joining in MPM! I too have food allergies, and that has profoundly changed my eating/cooking (for the better!)

    I love that you’re also interested in reducing your electronic use … I just finished a great book called “Cooking Green” and found that to be a good starting place for my own personal challenge.

  3. Sherry said

    Great looking menu and good luck on challenges! šŸ˜€ I’ve even heard that turning off computer at night and also unplugging appliances when not in use is good, too.

    Have a great week!

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