No More Meal Planning!

Using Building Blocks Instead of Meal Planning

A Twist on Meal Planning

So I seem to use the word “twist” a lot:) probably because there are so many great ideas and concepts out there that ALMOST work for me and my family but not quite. And it’s the not quite part that makes it hard to implement or basically pointless to do.

I have talked before about going grocery shopping BEFORE planning for the week because it easier to stay in budget when you are shopping for sales, not shopping for specific items. Then you can plan your meals around what you bought. The problem is that I never get around to the actual planning of the meals part. Or the remembering to prepare it part. Even when I do plan it by the time I finish work I am usually exhausted and my kids are home and need FULL ATTENTION so its not really the time to start cooking dinner with all my healthy ingredients that I purchased. I could plan and defrost the night before but that rarely happens because, you know, life.

Meal Planning

Enter BUILDING BLOCKS

Its basically meal prep for the week. But not. I don’t make a week’s worth of dinners for my family or lunches for me in advance. What I do is I take a few hours and create the building blocks of a few meals. I don’t need to decided in advance what dishes I will be making- I just prepare ingredients. Than I can decide every day what I am in the mood of and what works for me time-wise.

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Remember the WHY

The problem of buying things you need is that you can’t buy things that you want.

It seems that I want a lot of things.

That is the dilemma that I am facing as my stove saga drags on. Basically, my stove broke and we thought that we would be able to fix it. However, after a visit from a stove guy and a guy from the gas company, we are facing the realization that it may not be worth it to fix the 10-year old stove and instead we may have to replace it.

Yes, we have a “Life Happens” Fund.

We are lucky enough to have the money to pay for a new stove without having to put it on the credit card but that means that the money will have to come out of another fund- money that is earmarked for something else. It doesn’t really matter what the money is earmarked for; we have money put aside for clothes, maternity leave, baby stuff or our 3-6-month emergency fund. Once we are past the amount set aside for “Life Happens” then tough choices have to be made.

Making the Deep Cuts.

The problem with living on such a tight budget is that there is not much in the budget to cut out. I have been very open before about our low-income and tight budget. Honestly, I am more frugal than I even usually let on here. You know that we have only taken a vacation once in the past 7 years but did you know our entertainment budget is approximately $4 a month? I buy myself books from the 25 cent rack of the local bookstore and my kids occasionally are allowed to puck something out from the dollar store. We also get a drink from the gas station every few months- that is the extent of our “Eating Out” budget. As I once joked on Instagram, my whole life is a no-spend diet. I am saying this not to get pity or sympathy but to explain why “cutting something out” is not really an option and when I have to cut something- it’s a deep cut that hurts. Really hurts.

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7 Ways To Save Money on Back to School Supplies

7 Ways To Save Money on Back to School Supplies

Back to School Shopping doesn’t mean back to the poorhouse!

back to school

Read the full article where these tips were originally published:  https://www.opploans.com/blog/how-to-save-on-back-to-school-supplies/

I was honored to be quoted in a great article about saving money on back to school supplies. School supplies shopping does not need to strike terror in your heart when you get that dreaded list. It also does not need to break the bank (too much). Just like every big purchase proper planning and budgeting can help take the sting out a little.

Here are some tips to help you save some money on Back to School Supplies:

1. Make a budget and stick to it. If you have older kids, let them know in advance how much they have to spend. This way they can pick which items they want to “splurge” on and which ones they don’t. They may want to spend a lot on a nice notebook but stick to the cheaper pencils and pens.

2. Shop online and shop early. Many stores have back-to-school deals on certain items already. Quickly glance through some deal sites and store ads to see which items are on sale and stock up on the basics- pens, notebooks etc.

3. Coupon and cashback. Look online for coupons and take advantage of cashback apps. These little savings can add up in a big way! (Use my referral code for Rauktuen.com (previously EBates) to get $10 off your first purchase and cashback on many stores.)

4. See what you can reuse. Not everything needs to be new every year. Go through last year’s supplies and see what can be used, passed down and what needs to be replaced.

5. Plan before you shop. Make sure you have your school supply lists along with an idea of what items you already have so you don’t end up overbuying. If you have multiple kids that need the same items you may be able to split value packs as well so make sure to have an idea of what each child needs BEFORE you shop.

6. Stock up on basics. Are crayons, pens or paper on major sale? Do you think you may need to buy more throughout the year? If you have the resources, buy some extra basic supplies that are on sale so you don’t have to buy them at full price later in the year.

7. Don’t take all your kids at once. If you more than one child, don’t try to take all of them shopping at once. That is just asking for trouble. When the pressure of numerous kids get to you, you are more likely to make snap decisions that make it harder to stick to your budget. Take one kid at a time, even though it may mean more time. You will probably spend less money and have an altogether more positive experience.

Follow this rule for all shopping trips: Plan, Budget and Hack it. Click To Tweet

7 tips to save on back to school supplies pinterest

 

Happy shopping!

 

Do you have an emergency fund in place?  You need one!