One of the biggest challenges as a family of 10 is dealing with feeding everyone. For any family, keeping up with menu planning while keeping the money spent on food in check, can be a big deal. Keeping within the minimalist mindset, we don’t want things to go to waste or spend unnecessarily. Obviously, the less food that is wasted equals less money wasted.
Dealing with leftovers is our biggest challenge around here. When you cook for 10 every night, you go through a lot of food. However, it’s also hard to gauge how much will be available for our weekly leftover nights. We like to do grocery shopping a week at a time. (Ok, I wouldn’t say we really like to do it that way, but if we go for longer than that we need reinforcements to push the extra shopping carts.)
Our nightly cooking often feels like a scene from the Price is Right. The challenge is “getting to the correct amount without going over.” (If you have never watched The Price is Right, that analogy may be lost on you.) My point is, it’s just not always easy to guess how many packages of meat or frozen veggies we need without going over board. Another example is something like spaghetti. One pound isn’t quite enough, but two is way too much.
We do plan at least one weekly leftover night in our menus, but we usually end up with all these random side items that make it hard to feed us all. We try to track the leftovers by putting small removable stickers on them with the date so no one has to wonder, “Eww, when did we have this?!” Still, when it comes time to clean out the fridge, it is very disheartening to see the food that has gone to waste. This is a food challenge I would like to take on.
Enter, Jo from Simply Being Mum. First of all, very cool lady with some handy practical tips for living a simple family life. If you haven’t checked out her site, you should definitely visit. I have discovered that Jo has some awesome tips on menu planning, using slow cookers (can I get an “Amen?”), and a weekly challenge called “No Waste Tastes Great.”
This week, Jo was guest posting at The Minimalist Mom and gave us “The Simple Guide to Meal Planning.” I am not new to meal planning, but I always love hearing how other people plan their menus. I always come away with some new nugget of wisdom to try. If you need some help with this area or are just looking for some inspiration, go check out that article.
The “No Waste Tastes Great” challenge has me the most intrigued though. Just the pictures of Jo’s fridge alone are inspiring! This post has the details of how Jo takes inventory of her food items that she needs to use up for her weekly challenge. I am really excited to try some of Jo’s tips and see what we can accomplish around here.
One other resource I just found today is Food on the Table. It’s a website that will:
- plan your menus
- provides or lets you use your own recipes
- using your family’s food preferences
- at your favorite grocery store
- showing the current sale prices
- and print out an organized shopping list
You can use lots of the features for free so I’m going to try it out. For the record, that’s not an affiliate link. I’m just excited to see resources like this available for helping families save time and money.
I’m sure you have some great tips on saving money on groceries and your own menu planning tips to share. Please let us know what they are in the comments below.
Article originally published on 03/04/2011