I can hardly believe it’s been a year since we started our challenge to eat at home more with a 365 Day Meal Plan. The creation of a 365 day meal plan was a brainstorm I had while I was planning our first menu for the new year in late 2011. I thought if I put together a rotating meal plan that we used consistently over and over again we would not only save money, and time, but we’d be able to eat healthier as well.
I shared each week’s meal plan and recap of last week (except for a few weeks where meal planning wasn’t possible), and leading up to the holiday this year I was on auto-pilot with meal planning most nights, though I didn’t sit down and type out a specific menu since I knew many meals may consist of cookies and candy ;).
By sharing my honest struggles whether it was laziness, being ill, or a change in schedule I kept myself accountable but also examined where my ‘weak’ spots were in the meal plan and adjusted accordingly.
For instance we started cleaning our house top to bottom on Sundays in preparation for the week and I just didn’t feel up to making a big meal like I had expected I would, so these meals were often simpler, and I kept more complex meals to days during the week where we had little going on.
Looking ahead to 2013 I will be meal planning again, with an even more sharp focus on what works and what doesn’t. I’ll continue to share my successes and failures, as well as new recipes we try out.
How much did we save by meal planning?
Looking back over the past year, and 2011 I’m astounded to see we saved an average of….(drumroll please)
….over $400 a month! That’s nearly $4,000 for the year!
We spent an average of $800-$1,000/month on groceries, depending on the length of the month, sale items I found, and celebrations (like birthdays and holidays). In most cases I ended up being out of pocket under $200 for the week.
I should also note that this includes items that some people list separately like personal care products (most of which are expensive thanks to the sensitive skin the kids and I have) and paper products like TP.
Is one of your resolutions or goals to do better at meal planning? You can easily get started with the following:
- Free Printable Grocery List template
- Free 2013 Printable Menu Plan
- For inspiration you can find a full year of meal plans by clicking here.
Do you meal plan? Will you be meal planning in 2013?