Mrs. R is back, and I’ll be honest, this post kind of blows my mind. A whole month of dinners ready to go in your freezer and all for less than $150.00 (for 2). Can it be real? My family of 5 spends, on average, over $1,000 a month between the grocery store and eating out. If I could even half that number, it would be money saving boon for our family! Let’s see what she has to say…
I have seen A LOT of blogs on Pintrest about cooking for a month and spending little money on groceries. As a planner and organizer, it got me interested. Usually, I plan meals two weeks in advance, and go to the store and buy everything I need for those weeks. But, more times than not, either the produce would go bad, or my husband and I would decide to eat out instead. This is so embarrassing but there were months we would spend over $500.00 a month eating out PLUS the $200.00 a month on groceries…and its just the 2 of us!
At the beginning of every month I sit down with my “Yummy Yummy in my tummy” pinterest board, my calendar, and my grocery list and I start planning. I plan a meal for every day of the month and write down all of the ingredients I need. Then I go to shopping. My budget is $150.00…As of yet, I have not gone over because I look for sales. I buy only what we need, and I depend on left overs for lunch (which also helps us not over eat at supper each night). I found a cute meal planner at a local boutique for $15.00. It has magnets on the back so it hangs on my fridge nicely.
Once I am done grocery shopping, I sort out all of my ingredients, take out any meat that needs to be thawed and start labeling Gallon sized Zip lock baggies. My husband and I eat primary wild game meat as a result of hunting locally, which has helped cut costs at the grocery store. We also buy 6 pound bags of chicken thighs at Sams Club, to cut costs.
I usually start by cooking the red meat meals. Items include meal like… Sloppy Joes, Lasagna, Spaghetti and Tacos. Once all of the meat is cooked I add the sauces or spices and put them into their labeled Zip Lock bags. Then I stick them in the freezer. I then cook the chicken. Meals that include chicken are things like… Bang Bang Chicken Pasta, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken wings. While the chicken is cooking I make up the sauces in their bags. Once the chicken is cut up I add it to the sauces and put them in the freezer.
It usually takes me 2-3 hours to cook, but once it is done, it is done…for the whole month! One thing that has been an absolute life changer in the cooking process is my Instant Pot. In my opinion it is the BEST appliance I own (better than my crock pot and I love my crock pot). Using a pressure cooker has made freezing meals that much easier. Plus, there are so many recipes on pintrest for pressure cooking (added bonus!)
For example: One night we had a 3 pound pork roast that I had made in a teriyaki sauce that was frozen solid. I put it in the Instant Pot, set the timer for 45 minutes and let it do its thing. When the 45 minutes was up, the Pork roast was shredded and the taste was AMAZING!
This is my 4th month cooking like this, and I have to say, we eat out maybe once a month, my produce never goes bad, and we have little clean up! In all reality, just knowing all of our suppers are prepared for an entire month is a relief! While it is a lot of work upfront, the end result is great. I don’t know if I will ever go back to cooking from scratch each and every night.
What are your thoughts? Are you willing to try this method? What tips do you have to share about meal planning? Please share in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.