Frugality is usually my goal, so paying for something that I can do myself doesn't make sense to a lot of people. Heck, it didn't make sense to me for a long time!
But every season of life is different, challenges change. Sometimes we, as mothers, need to put our priorities elsewhere.
That is exactly what happened to me, so I pay for a frugal, real food, meal plan. I get a month of meals, including breakfast, lunch, and one dessert a week, shopping lists, prep lists, and lots of tips and tricks. We only have to spend $350 a month on groceries, usually a little less because we don't eat every meal on the plan.
We include the small cost of the meal plan in our food budget. It meant giving up a couple snack foods per month, but those aren't good for us anyways!
But WHY would I pay for a plan when there are so many wonderful and free meal planning resources?
I was spending a couple hours every week making a meal plan, writing grocery lists, and matching the lists to store flyers, coupons, and money earning apps. I tried a variety of ways to shorten the work time, but none of them ended up being a good fit for our family. I wanted to invest those hours doing other things, like actually preparing meals, and making snacks or breads. Now I don't even go to the grocery store ever single week, which frees up more time! I'm currently taking a short course on natural remedies for children, something that would have been too overwhelming before.
I kept getting stuck in a rut of using the same meals over and over. I tried having a couple of 2 week menus that we rotated through, but we got bored. I was also trying to change it all the time to add more healthy foods, or switch out meats based on what was for sale. Which meant I was spending all that extra time on the 2 week plan, so it wasn't worth the time I had put in when I originally wrote it. Plus, I just plain don't like meal planning.
Now I don't have to be creative. I know our meals are healthy and we always have salad on hand.
I am picky. There are so many foods I don't like, it's not even funny. I'm also not the least bit adventurous when it comes to trying new things. I could probably be happy with my very limited meat and carb diet, but my long term health and weight would suffer.
My husband is not picky AT ALL. Sure, there are a couple things he doesn't like much, but he will still eat them if I serve them (which I try not to do often). He enjoys it when I offer a variety of foods instead of sticking to 14 meals that I like.
Most importantly though, I don't want my kid(s) to be picky. I want to expose them to large varieties of meats, fruits, veggies, and anything else I find. Combating my own pickyness has to come first, but I can share with them at the same time. I give someone else the power of choosing our meals so that I stay true to my commitment to trying new foods and eating more healthy options.
This one is obvious. It's easier to stick to a budget when your shopping list is premade for you. I still struggle sometimes with snacks, fruits and veggies are the best options of course, but breaking our habit of processed snack foods is hard.
In this season of my life, paying for a meal plan is what works best for my family. If you think this is something that would work for you, go check it out from Tiffany at dontwastethecrumbs.com. She offers a free 2 week trial for anyone interested. There are lots of other options for paid meal plans, so take a look around if that one isn't for you.
Share! Do you pay for a meal plan? If not, what works for you and your family?