January – Getting back into monthly meal planning and grocery budget

Whew we made it through that crazy Christmas and New Years period. That period where no matter how much you budget and plan something always comes up that blows it.

Or well for us it does.

Our December budget wasn’t really a budget it was more a guideline as to what we have and what we can expect. The boys have been off daycare since the 23rd Dec and hubby has been off since the Friday before Christmas. So as you can imagine it was very hard to do a December budget for food as well as dealing with a newborn.

With the extra work on lunches that aren’t just the hubbys usual sandwiches, chips and a biscuit and the boys lunches that aren’t just a set lunchbox it has taken a lot more work. But I am in no way complaining.

So our 21st December to 21st January budget has been completely blown. And I am talking blow out of the water, park and all the way out of New Zealand. Yeah its been one of those budget fails on my part and I have owned it 🙂

So to make sure that I combat that and I am ready for our 21st January to 21st February my budgeting and meal planning has been done. Last night in fact.

Along with getting our grocery list done and our meal plan done I also set myself two challenges. One is for this month and one is for the year.

My first challenge is to spend a total of $400 for everything we need from the supermarket for the month. And a total of $150 or all the meat for the month.

Now I will still need to top up on milk but that should be the only thing needed from the supermarket for the month.

In order to make sure that I reach my $400 total I had to really sit down and plan. I sat in front of my pantry and took a look at everything I had, what could be made out of what I have, what I need to stock up on and what extras are needed to complete my meal plan.

I then sat down and went through my cook books and picked a couple of recipes to help fill out the menu all the while making sure the ingredients are within our budget.

This $400 budget also has to include what we need be it personal, cleaning products or treats. So making sure my shopping list is as strict as it can be. I think I am being a bit generous with $150 for meat. I think it will come under $150 but I thought $150 was a safe safety net.

Here is our meal plan for the next month:

My second challenge that I have set myself is one for the entire year. And that is to reduce our waste and how much food we throw out. Even though I am on a budget last year we threw out a lot of left overs that really could have been frozen and used in another meal. This year I am determined not to let that happen.

I have been buying freezable containers so that I can put our left overs in the freezer. This will also give me ready done meals so if I know I have a late specialist appointment with dad instead of worrying I can just grab an container and just feed everyone one of those.

I’m actually pretty excited to get this month underway. It has been nice getting back to the meal planning and the grocery budget revising. It’s kind of like therapeutic to get back and revise the budgets and see what we can change and set myself new goals.

I will let you know how it goes 🙂

-Just A Happy Mum

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