It is day #8 of our Be Intentional Challenges!
As a reminder, the 30 Be Intentional challenges this month are designed to get you on the right foot, the right track and give you energy, efficiency and organization which will propel you into a life that is able to develop an overall financially smart, happy and frugal home. We are going to have different themes each month this year (and we have very exciting stuff planned) and this month is your foundation!
We encourage couples and families to do these challenges together so the whole house can function well!
As the 30 days go along, we will be focusing on 5 areas for the Be Intentional Month:
Here’s the first 7 challenges in case you missed them and want to get your life on the right track:
- Set and Be Strict About Bedtime
- Work Towards Waking Up At The Same Time Everyday
- Making Your Bed Everyday
- Get Dressed To Shoes Everyday
- Hydrate Yourself
- 5 Minute Stretching and Breathing Exercise
- Implement a 20 Minute Quick Clean with You and Your Family
We are really starting to head into some nitty-gritty of quick habits you and your household can develop to help you meet your frugal and financial goals!
This next one is probably something you may already be doing, but it is good to be committed to doing it and reminded to do it!
So here’s Be Intentional Challenge #8 –
You probably have heard and even experienced just how an organized and financial smart household menu plans! Well, that’s because it is both!
Now as far as details and steps to menu planning exactly, we’re leaving that up to you. Why? Well, there are different styles of menus based on shopping habits, food needs, budget, etc. I don’t think that there is one menu planning method to rule them all.
Here are some common ways to plan a menu:
- Having theme nights each week – for example, Monday is Mexican night, Tuesday is Asian night, Wednesday is Italian Night, Thursday is All-American night, etc. Then based on these themes, you plan foods to go with it. For example, you can take the Mexican night and one night have enchiladas, another Monday have tacos, another Monday have Fajitas, another Monday is taco soup…. etc. and plan out 4-6 weeks worth of menus for each night based on those themes. It is a fun and organized way to plan.
- Take your top 6, 12 or 18 meals (as sample numbers) and rotate through, meaning start at #1 and next day is #2 until you get to the number of meal favorites your family has and then start the list over. This is a very simple one and a great way to ensure that your family is getting their favorites often and it also makes for very easy shopping.
- Planning meals based on the store sales. This is a popular one as many think that this is one of the best ways to save money on your meals. I actually disagree and I do not think it is very productive financially to meal plan this way. It is going to be talked about in another theme in a future month as it is too much information to summarize as to why this isn’t smart, but if you are doing this now, stick with it for now as it is better to meal plan than not at all as it still saves you money, time and your sanity. Then you can see what we are talking about in a later month to see if you want to change your perspective 🙂
- Meal plan based on Pinterest and fun recipes you find. Now while this sounds like a fun and exciting way to meal plan, a fun way to try new things and to have some fun in the kitchen, it is also the most expensive one! It is not cost effective to buy recipe ingredients when you need them – that is when they cost the most. However, you can do this frugally if you have a filled pantry and a bit of creativity to change the recipes up to match what you have – then by all means, have at it 🙂
- Finally, the way that we meal plan is based on what we have on hand. I do not consider the store flyers when I meal plan, I merely look to my own shelves, fridge and pantry. I LOVE this method as it allows creativity, new things, old favorites, and allows me to stick to my budget, eat healthy, and use up all of my perishables!
So since I do that last one, how do I do it?
- On Sunday’s (shopping is usually on Thursdays or Saturdays), I go to fridge first and see what I have and write down key things that need to be used soon.
- Then I head to my freezers (I have 2 chest freezers) which are organized by food type and oldest on top. I then jot down a few things that need to be used from the freezers or things that can be used.
- As far as my shelves go, we have backed off on quite a bit of couponing to avoid processed foods – this means that my shelves are filled with simple ingredients such as beans, rices, grains, pastas, healthy oils, spices, along with some boxed cereals and crackers (we can’t seem to live without those) 🙂 And just because we have this simple combination, does not mean we have really boring meals. It is the fresh and frozen foods added to those that make for some great meals.
- So since I just know what is on my shelves as a norm and I then use the items from my fridge and freezer list to put together meals that will ensure that it all gets eaten and no foods go to waste. It is really, really fun to see what I can come up with. We do often have similar meals due to the fact that we tend to buy the same things. I still use coupons and I most certainly shop the sale items for items we buy, I just use them sometime in the future. When organic brown rice goes on sale, I am stocking up…even if I don’t use it in one meal that week. I do check my shelves often though to take note of items we are running low on so I can stock-up on the next sale.
- I have a very simple menu planner I made – just list my items that need to be used on the right side and then on the left of my page under each day, put my meal together, crossing off the items as I include them somewhere on the menu!
- We almost always end our week with a soup, stew, chili or stir-fry of some sort. I tend to buy A LOT of produce. I just don’t want to run out and so many weeks we will still have a bit left over. This is perfect to make a one dish meal of soup, stew, chili or stir-fry with leftover protein from an earlier meal. This is my final way of ensuring we eat all of the produce (not counting the myriads of fruits that get thrown into the morning smoothies too).
But, no matter how you like to do it – just do it!
Finally, one thing that I am going to try to be committed to doing in 2013 is sharing my planned menu here on the site. When I see others’ menus it helps me to gain more ideas, reminds me to do it and is fun to see what others are eating.
Do you have a blog? Whether big or small??
So, along with that, we are considering adding a linky for those of you that have blogs and would be interested in posting your menu and linking up. We may start this early next week if you are interested in this idea! So if you have a blog…..would you mind leaving a comment so we can gauge interest and decide if we need to find a linky source? We haven’t done any linky’s here before, but it could be a lot of fun.
One final thing….. we also have a Facebook Group where you can engage in discussions, receive encouragement and talk to others that are participating in the challenges too for more ideas! Head to the Be Intentional with The Thrifty Couple Facebook Page HERE and ask to join us there! You can also invite friends and spouses too!