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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Frugal Friday: Meal Planning Made Easy

sticky-paperRaise your hand if you dread weekly meal planning!

My hand would have been raised until recently when I devised a system that has completely changed my meal planning game. I share this in case someone out there just might profit from what has helped me immensely!

I used to sit with my sales ads in front of me, along with cookbooks and my recipe cards trying to figure out what I felt like making, what was on sale, what was healthy, what new recipes I wanted to try out, what my family would like. . .

My husband, though, would frequently comment about the meals we all loved: “You know, you could make this every week, and I wouldn’t mind.” After almost 8 years of his saying this, I finally took his words to heart and made myself a monthly schedule. Obviously, if you live with people who don’t like routine meals, this isn’t going to work for you. But this has been a huge time-saver for me, as well as minimizing a task I used to dread. As an added plus, I think my young kids actually benefit from the routine, as they generally know what to expect.

I have some open meal slots, as I do enjoy trying out new recipes, or throwing in something that is not as frugal or healthy as our usual. I initially started out planning just dinners, but I liked the idea so much that I plan our lunches too. My wonderful husband makes breakfast, so I don’t even have to worry about that, although he makes the same meals on certain days of the week too.

Here’s our basic weekly schedule:



L-Leftovers (AKA empty the fridge, because I will shop that night)




L-Leftover from dinner (or egg salad if no leftovers)



B-Smoothies and eggs

L-Baked potatoes with broccoli

D-Pizza & veggies (Aldi’s large deli pizzas are delicious and only $5.99)


B-Smoothies and eggs

L-Sandwiches & veggies

D-Mexican (I have 4-5 different meals I plan on for each week of the month. Every other week I cook a big crockpot of refried beans to use with this meal and others.)



L-Leftover Mexican

D-Breakfast/vegetarian (I have 2 breakfast meals and 2 vegetarian meals I plan on)



L-Refried bean dip (from Thursday’s meal)

D-Crockpot meal



L-Saturday leftovers

D-Cheese quesadillas

We have reasons for doing some of our meals the way we do. Wednesday nights we meet with our church for prayer, so pizza reduces the stress. Thursday nights are our family fun night, and we all love Mexican–and I often make a dessert too. Sundays we have church, and because my husband is the pastor, they tend to be crazy or stressful, so we like to keep it simple.

I can’t stress enough how much of a help this has been to me. I hope it can help one of you too! Stay tuned in future “Tasty Tuesday” posts for a few of my regular recipes for extra inspiration.

Happy stress-free meal planning! 🙂

{On Fridays, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}




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