a plan

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January 16, 2013 by Ellen V

I don’t have very wide readership in this little corner of the interwebs, but those who read Monday’s post seemed to have liked it. So thanks! Mama K suggested that she might go on a “spending diet” rather than a “spending fast.” I like that. My reading of 7 has encouraged thoughts of less consumption, among other things. A little plan is brewing in the back of my mind, but I’m going to keep it there for now. I’ll let you know what, if anything, surfaces.

Speaking of plans, though, I’ve been singing the praises to anyone who will listen of menu planning. Yes, I know, it’s a little absurd. Not really that exciting. But still, I love it. Eric and I have been intentional menu planners for our entire marriage–a whole three years, ha–and in the last year or so it’s really become ingrained for me as a way of feeding our family.

Menu planning

  • helps us look ahead for the week and plan our evenings accordingly. If I have to work, Eric works on our leftovers. If there won’t be much time to cook, we plan something easy or a crock pot dinner. If we have dinner plans, we save ourselves from having to buy extra meal fixings that won’t get eaten.
  • allows us to use what we have. Eric is better at this than I am, but I’m trying! Menu planning allows us to plan according to what is already in the refrigerator/pantry/freezer.
  • saves us money. Besides using what we have, we also shop from a specific list, which saves money that often gets spent on buying whatever looks good in the moment. Someday, I hope to be better about looking ahead at the sales and planning around them, as well.
    • Saving money also allows us to shop local. If we were less thrifty, we’d certainly have to shop at our local big box grocery chain. Our lists and planning, though, have allowed us to continue to shop at the local market, which has excellent meat and produce. On especially thrifty weeks, I can even buy many of our produce, dairy, and meat items organic/cage-free/grass-fed/etc, which is so yummy and all around awesome!
  • saves time we would have spent hemming and hawing about what to have and then starting from scratch. This extra time means that, in the last month or so, we’re consistently eating together as a family rather than feeding Jane and then eating adult dinner after she goes to bed.
  • adds variety and allows us to try new recipes and interesting foods.

Our CSA box always throws a wrench in planning because it comes mid-week, which is not a great time for us to plan and/or shop. While we loved getting yummy, local, organic produce, we’re probably going to take a break from our CSA this coming growing season and give ourselves a weekly allowance at the local farmers market, instead. We’re hoping the switch will help us waste less food, spend a little less money overall, and still give us all the benefits of supporting local farmers, putting our money back into our own community, and purchasing fresh produce.

All this talk about food is making me hungry. And I’m not sure I planned breakfast…

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