As a Homeschooling Mom with very busy, active kids, I do not have much time to menu plan. I have, in the past, sat down for hours putting a week’s worth of meal plans together. I would go through my cabinets to find out what we have, pull out our recipe books and pick which meals we could eat with what we have, write out a shopping list of what I would need to buy, pull out coupons to match and then finally go shopping. It really did take hours and hours, with most weeks at about 4 hours per week’s worth of groceries. I decided about a year ago, enough was enough. Something had to give.
When I finally came to this decision, of menu planning being way to complicated and way too long of a process, I did my research. I found lots of great sites that would plan the menus for you. I tried out their sample weeks and actually went shopping with them. In the end, I came up with the same conclusion on all of the plans, that it was costing me too much money to not save any money at the grocery store. With only having one income in the home, that was just not going to work. We need to save every way possible to make ends meet. So what was I to do?
I kept researching, something that James and I seem to do without much effort. Maybe it is the type of jobs we have had in the past, or maybe just what we like to do, but anyways I keep researching. If I had the problem, then there must be others out there with a similar situation. It turned out I was right! There were others who were in the same boat as me and I was able to find a workable solution on the cheap, which always makes any great idea even better.
I had been looking up apps on my smartphone and ran across an app that got my attention. This app had a year’s worth of dinner plans! The woman that created them, had a home daycare and created these menus based off how she was feeding her family. She created the first one as a gift to a family member for Christmas years ago. After giving it as a gift, lots of people started calling her to buy one, which gave birth to her business. So not only would I get a year’s worth of menu plans and grocery lists, I would get all of that from someone who knew saving money was very important. So what is this app? My Family Meal Planner Light.
At only $4.99 no matter which app store you go to, this is an amazing deal!
So what do you get with this app?
- 52 weeks of meal plans
- 4 dinner meals per week with one being a crock pot meal
- All meals feed 4-6 people (if you have more people in your family, just double the recipes)
- All meals under 500 calories
- Kid Friendly Recipes
- Nutritionally balanced
- If you are on a weight loss system, she has calculated the points for you
- Grocery list that you can check off as you shop
So you might be thinking, wait a minute, only 4 dinner meals? There are 7 days in a week, so what do I do the rest of the week? Those are good questions, but I have easy answers for them. I am not someone who loves to cook. I like to cook, but I am a busy Homeschooling Mom and by the time dinner rolls around I just don’t like having to spend tons of energy on cooking. If I could hire a cook to come in every night a would, but that isn’t possible. So, I have fallen in love with this app. All the other days of the week are easily filled in.
- 4 dinners from the app
- 1 breakfast meal (pancakes and bacon, eggs and sausage, etc)
- 1 pizza meal
- 1 leftovers meal or takeout
There you go, your whole week planned out. When I go grocery shopping I just add extra eggs, flour, bacon or sausage, and frozen pizzas to the list. No more scouring over my cookbooks for family friendly cheap meals. She has done all the work for us.
Now if you are not so tech savvy or just like having a paper copy of things, she has even more options for you. With 8 different year’s worth of meal planning books available, and a lunchbox version, you are able to get everything the apps offer, and more. I so hope that you are able to check out her website My Family Meal Planner , and look into the paper copies of these menu planners or to check out the links above for her apps. They have helped our family to eat healthy, save a ton of time and money, and ultimately keep menu planning simple.
Have you found a simple way to accomplish something, after working overly hard on that something for years? Share your story with us, and just maybe we all might learn a new simpler way of doing things.