Do you suffer from the 5:00 scramble? You know the one….you get off at 5:00 p.m., hop in the car to head home and now your brain kicks into overdrive.
“What do I have for dinner? Do I need to stop by the store to pick up a few more ingredients? Is there enough time to get it made and cleaned up before getting the kids to practice? How much homework will they have tonight because I need to factor that into everything as well….oh, and get them into bed on time. Forget it, tonight I’ll just stop by the drive-thru to pick up dinner!”
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Is this you? Are you running around like a chicken with your head cut off?
I’m all for making my life, and yours, a lot easier. Accomplishing what we need to, but not so frantically that we are going crazy.
With so many different things going on in our life, if we could just put some easy, organizational systems in place, our life would run a lot smoother, wouldn’t they?
Are you with me?
Enter, meal planning.
Before I started meal planning every week, I would head off to the grocery store, small list in hand, but I hadn’t really figured out what we would be having for dinner every night. I had an idea, but more frequently, I would gather inspiration in the aisles of the store, most of the time having to double back for more ingredients as that inspiration came to me. Yep, I was the crazy lady that went down the aisles multiple times because I wasn’t prepared with what I needed.
I wish I could tell you that I started meal planning because of my genius idea, but truthfully, it was because my husband started doing the grocery shopping for me.
You see, my chronic illness makes it somewhat of a challenge to go in public. (catch up at What I’ve Learned from My Chronic Illness) I get severe migraines from perfume and cologne and for some unknown reason, our local shoppers absolutely bathe in fragrances before heading out for their weekly grocery shopping.
At first, I really didn’t like the idea of him going because I knew in my head what I needed and it would create more work to fill out a grocery list than it was worth….or so I thought.
Now I would have to plan everything out and write it all down in the order the store was laid out. (Because I didn’t want to make any extra work for Mr. Rotzoll. After all, he was already doing me a big favor!)
Fast forward several years and it’s turned into a huge win at our house!
Now our meals are planned every week. I don’t have to think about what we’ll have for dinner, whether or not we have the ingredients and if I have enough time to thaw what’s needed.
Every Saturday I spend about 20 minutes planning out our meals and making a shopping list. I consider what days I’ll be home throughout the week and which days I won’t. This allows me to plan meals that require a little more prep on the days I’ll be home and meals that are easy to throw together on the days that I don’t get home from work until after 6:00 p.m.
Each morning I already know what we’re having, so if something needs to be thawed, I pull it out and off I go.
Time management at it’s best, my friend!
You’re a busy woman and wear many different hats. You are spread thin enough as it is and adding the three main components of being the master chef (planning, shopping, and preparing) is far easier with a meal plan.
Reasons you need a meal plan
- Completely eliminates the 5:00 scramble.
- Makes meal prep easier by already knowing what’s for dinner.
- Forces you to eat healthier than if you had stopped by the drive-thru for that greasy fast food.
- Keeps you within your weekly budget by not eating out.
Meal planning tips
If you’ve never meal planned before, I’ve got some tips to help you get started.
- First and foremost, know your grocery budget before hitting the store. (We use cash for this and several other expenses for the week, so my husband takes the cash with him and it prevents him from spending more than what we’ve budgeted.)
- Plan your weekly meals around the current week’s sale items. If chicken is on sale this week, plan a couple meals around that. Ground Beef on sale? Have a meal that incorporates it.
- Start out by only planning dinners until you’ve gotten the hang of it. Then you can begin to add breakfasts and lunches.
- When you get the groceries home, prep anything that can be prepped ahead of time and toss it into the freezer. In the morning before heading out, pull that night’s meal out so it’ll be thawed by the time you get home. This is a great way to decrease your prep time at night after you’ve gotten home from work.
- Join me for “Scrumptious Saturdays!” Every Saturday on Facebook, I share something from my meal plan for the week and invite you to do the same. I’d love to grow this community so that we can help each other out with scrumptious, easy meals for the coming week. Join me here this Saturday!
- Take the What’s 4 Dinner Challenge Course. I took this earlier this year and Holly and Erin are geniuses at teaching some great tricks and tips for staying within your budget and making meal planning incredibly easy. (This class is normally $47, but will be available very soon for only $30. You can access it here along with a whole collection of great homemaking resources!)
I’ve become a time management geek and meal planning is one of my favorite strategies for making life easier and keeping us within our budget.
As with any time management strategy, you have to implement to make it effective! So don’t just talk about it…..get out and do it!
I challenge you to meal plan for just one month. You’re going to love getting rid of that dreaded 5:00 scramble! Be sure to let me know how it goes for you!
Do you have a great time management tip for your home? I’d love for you to share it below!
Until next time, my friend……
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