Have you ever had one of those days, where the kids are screaming, starving and on the verge of a meltdown, yet you have no idea what you are going to make for dinner? Trust me, we’ve all been there.
Dinner time can be one of the most stressful times of the day. Well, stress no more! One great way to save money and to eliminate meal time chaos is to use meal planning!! Using these simple tricks, takes the guess-work out of a busy mom’s dinner schedule (or dad’s, depending on who is the chef in your home) and eliminates the chance of having multiple hangry-I mean hungry ;-)- kiddos. Furthermore, meal-planning helps you save food, money and time. It is a great way to use your recipes and use up frozen food lurking in the back of your freezer.
I usually plan out our meals monthly, starting at the beginning of the month. Today’s example will include two weeks worth of meal planning, which can be doubled for a months worth. (or for more ideas check out Budget-friendly Two Week Dinner Meal Plan for under $75)
I like to pay serious attention to the days my four-year-old has preschool and needs mommy right around meal-time. I save the simple, kid-friendly meals or crock-pot meals, I can make in advance, for these evenings. So play around with my sample and do what works for your schedule!
Planning ahead of time also helps take the guess-work out of grocery shopping. You will know exactly what to place on the top of your grocery list. I usually do my shopping twice a month because I find the less I am in the store, the less money I spend on impulse buys. So are you ready? Here is a sample meal plan for two weeks worth of budget friendly dinners! I usually write this out on a scrap paper. Enjoy!! 🙂
To make meal planning even easier, check out $5 Meal Plan. This is a meal planning service that will send your weekly meal plans of low cost meals your family will love. They offer a 14 day free trial so you have nothing to lose!
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Monday (insert a date as needed)- Easy Budget friendly Chili-serve with a side of crackers or garlic toast. See the recipe in my past post –Chili-Fall Budget Meal Under $4
Tuesday– Chili leftovers
Wednesday– Crock-pot pulled pork – Serve it on a bun and corn as a side dish. (I buy most of my frozen vegetables at Target. The organic brand, Simply Balanced, is budget friendly and good quality).
Thursday – Pulled pork tacos
Friday – Tuna Noodle Casserole with peas (under $3)
Saturday – Sweet and Sour Chicken (you can buy pre-made from the store or make you own, which isn’t to difficult and healthier-load the kids up on veggies)
Sunday – Spaghetti (This would be a split meat-meat meal. A Split meat-meal means you split the meat pack in half and make taco meat for tomorrow’s meal. This means less mess, less meat and a budget friendly version.) Serve with garlic toast and cottage cheese as a side.
Monday – Tacos (meat already made) add your favorite toppings!!
Tuesday – Grilled chicken and potatoes – I like to add Broccoli as a side dish! *TIP* – Use frozen chicken and cook extra for tomorrow’s meal.
Wednesday – Chicken Quesadillas
* Use extra chicken from Tuesday or use the canned Kirkland brand chicken from Costco.
Thursday – “Out to eat” or “Take Out” treat
*Treat yourself but don’t break your budget. Search your town for the local happy hour specials or kids eat free. This happy hour is for food specials, not drinks… Well, maybe one-You deserve it after all of your budgeting and meal planning!
Friday – Freezer Friday – Make something that has been sitting in your freezer, waiting for you to eat it! We like Fish Sticks and veggies!
Saturday – Soup and grilled cheese (Go crazy with the grilled cheese and use Texas toast and provolone.)
Sunday – Pasta/Chicken salad (recipe to follow)
I also like to purchase one or two extra meals as a substitution for the evenings you just don’t feel like cooking or eating what you stuck on you plan. Hey, you have to be flexible when you have kids!! I like to say every thing in moderation, even meal planning!
- Frozen pizza (We like the freschetta brand but you could make your own using the refrigerated dough from the store for a quick and easy pizza) or
- Frozen ravioli (We like Kirkland brand with spinach so the kids get their veggies)
Remember this is just a sample. If you are up for trying it, you can use your own go-to recipes. The ideas in my plan are easy and budget friendly. Create your grocery list, (I love shopping at Target and using my redcard for additional sales), taking note of what you will need and stock up if you score a sale! Hope you find this article useful! Check out some of my other blog post or follow me! 😀