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#1 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do I start by planning one week at a time, then two, then the whole month?
Do I plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just start with dinner?
Is it really going to save money?
Doesn't this squash creativity in the kitchen? Or can I factor that in somehow?
If it's going to save me money, I want to do it.
If it's going to bore me, I don't want to do it.
I spend a ridiculous amount of money on groceries each month, $1000/month for 5 people. Of course, I have to buy a lot of specialized ingredients because my kids have food intolerances to corn, egg, dairy, soy, and other things, but still, it seems horribly high.
Can I still do this?

Kathy, mother of 3, wife of 1. My new recipe blog: www.kathysrecipebox.wordpress.com (no longer searchable by allergen, but at least it doesn't have a virus!)
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#2 of 4 Old 06-04-2008, 12:54 PM
 
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Do I start by planning one week at a time, then two, then the whole month? I'd start with one week so you don't get too overwhelmed, then you'll figure out what works best for you.
Do I plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just start with dinner? I just do dinners. Breakfasts are either bagels, cereal or eggs on weekdays and weekends we just eat what we want for breakfast. Lunches are leftovers or sandwiches always.
Is it really going to save money? It saves me money. Before I started planning, I'd decide what I wanted and realize I need an ingredient or two and have to run to the store. And end up buying a few extra things and have a bill of $40ish almost every day.
Doesn't this squash creativity in the kitchen? Or can I factor that in somehow? Not really. Plan a night of putting together a meal with whatever's in the house if you need to.
Of course, I have to buy a lot of specialized ingredients because my kids have food intolerances to corn, egg, dairy, soy, and other things, but still, it seems horribly high.
Can I still do this?
Yes. We don't do dairy or soy and I spend $500 a month max for 4 people. Which includes household things, diapers, etc.

My first suggestion is make a list of meals your family likes and will eat. Then see what you have in the house and come up with a few meals. I like to try a new recipe every week or two as well so I add those in. And a night of leftovers.
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#3 of 4 Old 06-05-2008, 10:14 AM
 
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Do I start by planning one week at a time, then two, then the whole month? Do I plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just start with dinner? I started by planning just dinners, and I had 3-4 breakfasts and lunches that I rotated through all the time during that time period.

Is it really going to save money? I found that it did. It not only cut down on what was spent at the grocery store, it cut the eating out bills as well.

Doesn't this squash creativity in the kitchen? Or can I factor that in somehow? No, you just get creative in advance when you plan your menu.

I spend a ridiculous amount of money on groceries each month, $1000/month for 5 people. Of course, I have to buy a lot of specialized ingredients because my kids have food intolerances to corn, egg, dairy, soy, and other things, but still, it seems horribly high. Can I still do this? Absolutely. In fact, you might find it saves you even more. At one point I was gluten, dairy, soy, corn, egg, cashew and apple free. Planning ahead was the only thing that kept me sane.

KerryAnn @ CookingTF dot com - Nutrient dense foods your kids will LOVE!  Real Food Cooking School and Lactofermentation Classes now live! Use coupon code "CTF" for 20% off.

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#4 of 4 Old 06-05-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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I only plan a week in advance, dinners only, for me I think that more would be too much.

I found that it does save me money, I also used to go to the store everyday no I do once(maybe 2x's) a week, the more I stay out of the store, the more I save.

I have found that I actually am more creative because I make it a goal to try a new recipe every week, if not 2. I haven't made the same thing in a couple months, well maybe burgers, but that's about it. If anything it helps keep my inspiration higher with the anticipation of making something I've never made. I made a pork mole roast last week in the crock pot it was so wonderful, then it morphed into tacos and those were equally amazing, I was really proud of my meal plan.

I really can't answer about food sensitivities because we don't really have them, but I think it would be helpful. I do know that there are a number of threads about this, there was just one in the Frugality and Finances which has some superb ideas for a family with sensitivities. I think planning ahead will help to cut back on your budget. HTH.

Me Wife to T (14 years)Mama to Princess(4) and Monster Boy(my 1 year old ):
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