Back to Meal Planning

meal planning header

Ok so some of you might no that awhile ago on V 1.1 of this blog, I decided to get into meal planning as a way to save money.  At the time I was also couponing as much as I could.  (Not like Extreme Couponing, thats way too big of a committment.)  For a while it was great.  We knew what we were eating every night and when things were on sale I would stock up on thinks like canned tomatoes that we use a lot.  I was able to cut down our grocery budget a bit and we weren’t eating out as much.

Unfortunately I started working extra hours at night which meant I wasn’t getting home until 8:30 and after starting work at 7 in the morning, cooking and then eating at close to 10 at night was not something I wanted to do.  On top of that planning it out by myself and doing all the shopping and coupon clipping was a lot of work when I work a minimum of 57 hours a week as a nanny.  Meal planning and couponing fell by the wayside.

Recently Boyfriend complained that there’s no food in the house.  I immediately realized how angry that made me and how my mother must have felt when we three kids said that practically every day of our teenage years.  I tried not to yell, and tell him that there is PLENTY of food in the fridge and freezer, he just wasn’t willing to think about what to make with it all.  In our fridge/freezer right now we have chicken breast, ground beef, raw shrimp, various frozen veggies, yogurt, eggs, frozen skillet and microwave meals, etc and thats not even including our pantry which always has canned tomatoes, pasta sauce of different kinds, pasta, rice, canned veggies, soup, etc.  There was a ton of stuff.

So I told him I wanted him to do it with me.  I wanted input, I wanted him to help pick recipes and cook (he gets home at least an hour before I do every day).  He was all on board.  (I really do try to be nice in conversations like this.  I know that I could get angry and yell about he maybe wasn’t appreciating all of the shopping and cooking I was doing even if we didn’t know what we were going to have until right before we ate it, but that wouldn’t lead anywhere good.  I would much rather have a productive conversation where I explain my side and we come to some sort of a conclusion and way to work things out.)

Pepperplate meal planner

I only plan for 4-5 days in the event that something comes up. Saturday will also probably be a leftovers day.

I told him to download Pepperplate on his phone and log in with my username and password.  Pepperplate is a free app and site that allows you to easily add your recipes right from the internet/your brain/a magazine, etc.  After you add the recipes you go to the planner view and just type in whatever you want to have for dinner on what days.  You can also add to a shopping list directly from the meal planner.  Its a great site.  I don’t typically use the shopping list because Safeway has an app where you can see specially selected discounts for you and whats on sale and add to your shopping list in their app.  It will also break down your list by aisle according to your local store.  (This is great for cutting down on impulse buys!)

So I looked a the flyer online quick and told him what meats were on sale.  We figured out what to have for tonight based on what was already available because I didn’t think I’d be able to make it to the store today.  But the rest of the week he could pick what he wanted and he agreed that if he was home before me and he wasn’t waiting for me to come home with necessary ingredients he would get the food started.  After he added them all into the planner I checked it out on my computer by logging in and added the things we needed my Safeway shopping list with the appropriate coupons.

Now on my phone I have the shopping list designated by aisle with coupons that I don’t have to print or scan (and I am earning extra gas points) and the Pepperplate meal planner if I forget what something is for or feel the need to second guess myself.

So we’ll see how it goes, it would be nice to bring that food budget back down again!

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