Some people do drugs. Some people turn to alcohol or overindulge in food. My obsession? Saving money! The thrill I get when I am trimming the “fat” off of our budget is like an high unto itself!
This pay period I decided to join forces with a friend and try and save even MORE money! Armed with my OCD planning and her Sam’s card, we set to work!
For our family of three, I usually plan 3-4 big meals a week (if you don’t enjoy leftovers, this post is not for you!). For this 2 week stretch, we chose the following meals:
- Healthy Turkey Chili
- Honey Sesame Chicken
- Broccoli Beef
- Black Bean Soup
- Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Carne Asada Nachos
- BBQ Chicken
By doubling everything, each family gets a set of meals, and thanks to buying in bulk, everything is significantly cheaper! If you are just purchasing for yourself, you will get a month’s worth of meals for $110!
The ingredients we purchased did not include sides or toppings – just the ingredients needed for each basic recipe/what goes into the crockpot. The meals above are not necessarily freezer meals, but they can easily be improvised! Prepare everything that will go in the crock pot, dump in a gallon sized freezer bag, and freeze!
Now for some tips to make this process work for YOU:
- BUY IN BULK – at Sam’s we got a 20lb bag of chicken for 19.98! Smaller portions are much more expensive!
- Plan similar meals – this goes along with tip number 1; when you plan meals with ingredients in common, you can purchase in bulk!
- Healthy doesn’t have to be expensive – don’t shy away from healthy meals because of the price of fruits and vegetables! Look for recipes that are low in dairy, get cheaper cuts of meat, don’t be afraid of beans, and incorporate the fruits and veggies that are in season!
- Plan Plan Plan – The day before you go, plan out your exact grocery list. Try and find recipes that incorporate things you already have in your pantry or fridge. This way you spend even less on ingredients. Stay strong while shopping, and don’t browse! Maybe take a friend for back-up!
- Don’t cram it all into one day – I plan one day, shop the next, and cook the third. Don’t wear yourself out!
- Team up with a friend – This makes the process SO much easier!
- Three words: freezer dump meals – these are the easiest meals to make. Just dump all the ingredients in a gallon size freezer bag, freeze, and then everything goes in the crockpot when you are ready!
- Prep your meals with the bags standing up in pitchers – this makes the assembly process so much easier! I also double bag each meal to prevent spillage.
Lastly, HAVE FUN! Just remember, a couple days of hard work will be worth it when you don’t have to cook for two weeks!