A quick review of my household budget during these past four months of COVID looks like this:
Daycare, down 100%
Wine, up 80% (take off your judgey pants!)
Kid Activities, down 100%
Online Shopping, up 40%
Restaurants, down 95%
Groceries, up 240% !!!! WHAT THE!?!?
Um, this needs to change. Immediately.
How did this happen? Like many of you, I fell into a bit of a scarcity mentality around food. No, I don’t have 50lbs of flour in my pantry and 27 packets of yeast, but I certainly ‘stocked up’ on more items than I normally would. I also tried to limit my time in various stores and so I didn’t shop around and often bought staples I could easily get at the cheaper store from the more expense one I was already waiting in line for. Also – guys, snacks. Wow, if you had kids home during COVID you know. Finally, and most impactfully, I was not practicing the meal planning method I preach – BIG FAIL!
Well, I’m back on the wagon and can’t wait to show you how I ensure my family of four is able to eat high quality, unprocessed, fresh food, without going bankrupt. I have lots of tips and tricks to share and will be documenting them all month through the blog and Instagram.
First up, we need to talk about a meal plan. If you do nothing else, do this step and you will see a significant decrease in your grocery bill – I promise. Plus, the stress around ‘what’s for dinner’ (and breakfast and lunch and snacks) will be gone. There are a million meal planning templates out there, but this is the one I have developed for my family, and now you!
It’s simple, fast and can be used for any family regardless of what ‘diet’ you align with.
Check out the video for a complete walkthrough of me using the MM Meal Planning template to plan my actual week of food.
Here is a simple summary of the steps to filling in the MM Meal Planning Template:
- Fill in any activities or events. This will ensure you don’t overextend yourself. On the Tuesday your kids have karate and you work late, it’s not the night to attempt from scratch ravoli stuffed with mushrooms and thyme.
- Shop from your pantry and freezer first. I aim to create at least two meals a week this way.
- If you use coupons or look through the flyers, plan at least one meal around what is on sale and in season your area.
- Plan a meal that can be done in bulk to create leftovers and/or can be frozen for a future week.
- Plan for one ‘kitchen sink’ recipe that will use up any odds and sods. I suggest placing this meal towards the end of your week when you might have fresh produce that needs to be used up. Some of my favourites are: stir-fries, pan bakes, pizza, pasta and omelets.
- Fill in the remaining meals. Stay tuned for lots more tips about how I populate all these squares.
- Add a few favourite snacks!
- Now that your template is complete, go through each item and populate your grocery list. More on this next week
If you use this method let me know how you made out. Leave a comment, tag me on Instagram, send a carrier pigeon! You know I love to hear from you.