The good news is that my calendar has been exploding with new experiences and life changes. Which means one thing, I have lots to write about!
At the beginning of 2013, my husband and I vowed to save money for our daughter’s college fund. The one area that we agreed we could save more money was by cooking more meals at home and not eat out. Some months we have been good about it and others we have not. Thanks to Quicken, we are able to review our spending on a monthly basis and get back on track.
To get back on track, a fellow mom and I put our heads together and decided to make freezer meals. Once a month we get together to cook 5-6 meals while our husbands watch our kids (which we like to call “daddy daycare”). After the meals have cooled, we store them in freezer safe containers and drop them into the freezer until we are ready to eat them. My family likes to use the meals on days that we know are going to be busy. Let me tell you, it has reduced the stress in our household greatly! The best part? Making these meals has cost anywhere from $45 – $58 a month. That is about 90% less than eating out!
How can you set your family up for success? It’s easy!
Start with a spreadsheet or binder and start collecting your favorite recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:
Pick 5-6 recipes a month and compile a shopping list based on all of the ingredients. Remember that some ingredients like sour cream are considered “toppings” and should be added at the time of serving, not before freezing. Also keep in mind that you might already have some ingredients at home like olive oil.
Mark your calendar for an afternoon of cooking, giggling and catching up without the interruption of kid(s)!
We do have a few rules that we put together when planning this and I thought I would pass them along:
- One person does the grocery shopping (We love the West Seattle Trader Joe’s or Costco)
- The person who is not grocery shopping hosts the day of cooking
- The next month, the roles of the grocery shopper and host switch
- We use all organic meats
- As we find recipes we like, and add it to a spreadsheet
- We rate all of the meals between 1 and 10 to know if we should make them again!
- We split the cost of groceries 50/50
- Leftover ingredients are split at the end of the cooking session
Start your spreadsheet, mark your calendar and get to cooking because I can promise you that this will make your entire family happy!
If you don’t have the time to grocery shop and plan the meals, below are a few local Seattle locations that will do all of the leg work for you. All you need to do is show up, prep the meals, drink a glass of wine and take the meals home to your family. Locations offered all over the Puget Sound, prices will vary. The best part of using these services? They will do all of the clean up. That is worth the cost!
Take good care and be well mamas!