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TOPIC:   Do you plan menus? 


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MCDLADY1
MCDLADY1's Photo SparkPoints: (13,133)
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4/5/09 8:39 P

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Congrats Cindy
I'm excited for you
kinda off topic but tomorrow I'm going to teach a coupon tips and saving money class to some friends and coworkers

I'm determined to be successful at this, but at the same time I will not get depressed if I slip up I will just keep on going and do it a bit at a time.
Never give up remember it is never to late to start again!!! Stay motivated and please help motivate me!!!!


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CMEISENHEIMER
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4/5/09 5:49 P

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Here's the latest update. I told you all that I had 10 more evening meals. I did a little playing around and searching on line for recipes and discovered that I could actually make do for 14 evening meals. I was desperately low on bread (my bread machine died) and milk and lunch items for my son. So I sat down at the computer and started looking at the online sales ads. I made up my menus my grocery lists off of that. The great thing was that Winn Dixie was doing a fabulous B1G1 on meat items and a lot of other things that I normally buy. I spent 2 1/2 hours doing my grocery shopping but it sure did pay off. I got more than enough for 30 days because of the B1G1 (actually much closer to 45 days. My total bill was $240.82 with a savings of $135.81. I want to buy some fresh fruits and veggies to have on hand for healthy snacking but I've saved so much money on groceries that I can't wait to get to the farmers markets and the local grocery store tomorrow to see what all they have!! I am SOOOOOOO excited. Then on the way home, I saw that the Rite Aid is closing it's doors and had everything 50% off. Went in and got some great deals on non-candy gifts for everyone for Easter, Mother's Day and some toward Christmas too! What a day. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for motivating me to do this. FYI: Here's a site that has ready made printable price book pages. I'm going to print some out and put in a small note book and organize by item type. www.stretcher.com/resource/PxBook/priceboo
kpages.pdf


Carol, your inventory pages sound very similar to what I did.

Here's hoping everyone has a great a day as I did!!

Cindy

Co-Leader Nifty & Thrifty! A Budget Mindful Forum
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ndividual.asp?gid=8011


Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

John C. Maxwell


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CAROL_
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4/5/09 4:09 P

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I've been gone from Sparks for a week and am clearing thread emails, and realized when I came across this one I hadn't followed through.

I just made an inventory sheet, I did a 5-column table in Word, 2 skinny columns between 3 wide columns; the wide columns are labeled Fridge, Freezer, Pantry & Cupboards. I formatted the bottom of each row to have a printable line.

I'm hanging it on the fridge. When I have 5 mins now and again, I'll start filling in the inventory of each column. Thank you Cindy!


"Free men have arms; slaves do not.” -- William Blackstone
~I'm debt free thanks to Dave Ramsey www.daveramsey.com
~FlyLady's getting me organized www.flylady.net
~America is a Republic www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqM7v4XrV7o
~Identify jobs that compliment your passions and talents
~Learn how to keep your gallbladder even thru major wt loss, & keep it healthy www.hwwshow.com


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MONGO2TEN
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3/31/09 7:38 A

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Cindy, you are so right. And you have totally inspired me. I'm going to see how much I can save for the month of April and put my leftover money in my jar I'm saving for a kitchen makeover!

~Nancy



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CMEISENHEIMER
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3/31/09 6:37 A

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What my freezer/fridge/cupboard listing/meal listing showed me, is that I bought things on sale and then forgot I had them. Now mind you, I do like to stock pile a little. You just never know when your going to need it. I lived in California for 16 years and was preached to all the time about earthquake preparedness. Now I live in Alabama and we try to be prepared for hurricane season. Having the power out for a week is now fun.

So now, my goal is to have a list of meals on a magnet on the freezer. When I make a meal I will cross it off the list because I've used those items. That will give me a little freedom in case I have chicken down for a particular day and the cafeteria has chicken that day too. This will also keep me from forgetting that I've bought stuff for a particular meal and therefore buying more stuff. I'm still working on my grocery shopping list. I'm going through my everything to see what I'm out of or low on and making a list. Then I'll go through the flyers and decide where I'm going to shop to buy each item. Since I'm doing it on a spreadsheet on my computer then I can sort the list by store. This has been a great exercise and a great learning experience for me. I thought I did a very good job at saving money on groceries. But I'm seeing that I can save even more. Thank you everyone.

Cindy

Co-Leader Nifty & Thrifty! A Budget Mindful Forum
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=8011


Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

John C. Maxwell


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CAROL_
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3/31/09 3:21 A

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Yep you all inspired me. I'm making a list of everything in the freezer. And see how long I can forego buying groceries for April. I think I'll track total grocery cost for April and see how low I can go.

"Free men have arms; slaves do not.” -- William Blackstone
~I'm debt free thanks to Dave Ramsey www.daveramsey.com
~FlyLady's getting me organized www.flylady.net
~America is a Republic www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqM7v4XrV7o
~Identify jobs that compliment your passions and talents
~Learn how to keep your gallbladder even thru major wt loss, & keep it healthy www.hwwshow.com


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CHERYLN
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3/30/09 9:08 P

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Great job Cindy! And you followed through on a good start. Last year I listed everything in my freezer...but stopped there and of course that list got lost after adding more things to the freezer. By listing everything you had, and making a menu with that food! wow Once we get rid of these 15 inches of snow we just got, it will be time to clean the freezer out.

Cheryl from North Dakota
BLC-19 = Navy Ninjas
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BLC21-Green belt
BLC 24 - Blue belt


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MONGO2TEN
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3/30/09 8:53 P

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Wow Cindy, I'm impressed. Think I'll clean out my fridge, freezer and cupboards this week.

~Nancy



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SUNNY89
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3/30/09 8:19 P

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Cindy that sounds great. Congrats on tackling that project. Sometimes just making this list is enough not to want to tackle the job.

~ Tina

Don't be afraid to give your best at what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.


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CMEISENHEIMER
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3/30/09 8:17 P

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Well after cleaning out the fridge, freezer and going through the cupboard and listing out all the possible meals that I currently have supplies for I made a very important discovery. I discovered that I have everything necessary for 10 more evening meals. WhooHoo. I am going to stop at the grocery store and buy my darling son some lunch stuff and he needs some milk. This is great news and it means that my grocery bill will certainly be much, much smaller this month. I am SO stoked. Now I'm off to make my meal plans for the other 21 days in April!! And see if I can just find a great deal on a ham and get multiple meals out of it my month will be really set! Thanks for all of your help.

Cindy

Edited by: CMEISENHEIMER at: 3/30/2009 (20:19)
Co-Leader Nifty & Thrifty! A Budget Mindful Forum
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ndividual.asp?gid=8011


Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

John C. Maxwell


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BACKAGAININ2010
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3/29/09 9:09 P

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Today I had a bunch of green onions that I bought for a recipe, but didn't use. They were going to spoil before I got them used, so I chopped them and put them in the freezer. Got to do more of that so stuff doesn't go to waste.


Evelina

A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
-Stephen Dolley Jr.

Highest weight: August 2007 - 311

Rejoined SP:
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HOLLYLL
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3/29/09 6:33 P

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$40 - a week - that is great I would love to get down to 60-75 a week and we are only a household of 3. I have to figure out though how to eat healthy on a budget.


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SUNNY89
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3/29/09 2:55 P

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Great job Holly. I read a blog of a lady and she is doing just that this week, eating out of her pantry and freezer, fridge.

I also posted a couple of weeks ago. I stated I plan my menus. I do keep a log of what is in the freezers. We get paid weekly. I do groceries on Friday or Saturday. Our ads come out on Sunday. So I look through the current weeks ads and make my menus based on what is in my freezer/pantry and what is on sale. I only spend $40 weekly for groceries (food only) for a family of 4. Household and Hba comes out of a seperate fund.

~ Tina

Don't be afraid to give your best at what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.


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HOLLYLL
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3/29/09 12:58 P

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I had posted a few days ago that generally I get what is on sale and that's what the menu is based on. The more I have thought about it I've decided to take it one step further. we get paid bi-weekly and one paycheck stretches further than the other because of the way the bills fall. So - I told my husband today that on the tighter pay period we are going to spend even less by trying to eat only what is in the fridge/freezer and pantry. Of course I know i will have to supplement with some things but not only should we save money but we will also clean out the fridge and scale down the pantry.


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LADYBUGXING
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3/29/09 11:30 A

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I don't plan a menu. I go with whatever I can find that will be reasonably healthy and eliminate hunger. That usually means a lot of beans and soup.


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MONGO2TEN
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3/29/09 5:14 A

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Sounds like a great plan Cindy. Let us know how you do.

~Nancy



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CMEISENHEIMER
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3/28/09 7:43 P

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Well payday is on Tuesday so since I had to work today, tomorrow's goal is going to be to go through the freezer (upright and top of fridge) and thoroughly clean them and list out what's in there. I'll also make a list of things that I know we need. ie: I know I'm almost out of bread so I'll ask DS to go to the bread outlet store for me on Wednesday or Thursday when he takes the items I have to go to the TS and takes my mom to pick up her car at the mechanics. Then I'm going to sit down and seriously plan menus, as a guide, for the month of April and make up my shopping list. The sales start on Wednesday, so Tuesday night I'll check the sale papers and update my shopping list of what to buy where. I am determined to get the most bang for my buck, while still having more than enough in the house to eat.

You guys have given me great guidance. Thanks again.
Cindy

Co-Leader Nifty & Thrifty! A Budget Mindful Forum
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=8011


Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

John C. Maxwell


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SUNNY89
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3/28/09 8:26 A

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Always. For finances I have to. So I know I have the food in the house required to make dinner. I only shop once a week. If we run out...Too bad, we have to improvise. Meal planning is essential to my sanity.

~ Tina

Don't be afraid to give your best at what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves.


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KMEIDING
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3/25/09 10:35 A

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I used to plan a menu for the week, but my fiance is a student and has to use up a meal plan so we will eat that more often now. Also, I am not cooking as much since my kitchen is usually not clean because of my roommates. It takes a lot longer to try to work in a dirty kitchen, cleaning stoves and dishes as you need them.

Katrina


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HOLLYLL
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3/24/09 6:26 P

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I don't really plan menus per say - I've been on a tight budget lately so the menu has basically revolved around what is on sale.


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BACKAGAININ2010
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3/24/09 1:22 A

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I plan my menu, usually for 2 weeks, and post on my fridge. This is just for dinner. No one is here for breakfast or lunch. I do keep cereal and stuff stocked because one kid likes to eat cereal if she doesn't like what's being served for dinner and if the breakfast being served at work isn't particularly healthy that day I will eat before I go to work.

Then I also check for marked down meat while at Wal-Mart shopping. These can be used when planning the next menu. I only plan meals for weekdays. I've quit cooking on the weekends. Usually at least one kid is in and out all weekend. This is also the one who refuses to eat leftovers, so now I just plan to use up leftovers on weekends. Gives me a nice break from cooking.

Have been trying to plan my menus using Weight Watcher recipes. Even my picky eater has liked most of them.

Edited by: BACKAGAININ2010 at: 3/24/2009 (01:23)

Evelina

A man who wants something will find a way; a man who doesn't will find an excuse.
-Stephen Dolley Jr.

Highest weight: August 2007 - 311

Rejoined SP:
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CAROL_
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3/23/09 1:30 P

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Cindy I use the My Nutrition pages to load a ton of Mexican SparkRecipes onto Monday's date (like a cookbook); and I copy the entire thing over every week ("copy this meal" function) into next Monday's date; and then I delete the ones I don't want when I get to that day.

Meal Planning by Alliteration
MON - Mexican Monday

TUE - Tuna Tuesday

WED - Wok (Asian) Wednesday (or Wildcard/Whole grain)

THU - Taco / TexMex Thurs (love Mex so have it 2X)

FRI - Fish Friday

SAT - Slowcooker / Soup / Salad / Spagheti Saturday. Spaghetti goes with the S in Sat so it's not limited to spaghetti; "Spaghetti Saturday" really means "any pasta dish"; just like "Wok Wed" really means Asian, Chinese, Korean, Thai, or stir fry (I don't have a Wok).
SUN - I serve only make-ahead dishes, that I made on Sat; prepared refrigerator salads, reheatable fully cooked sides, and usually either a roasted chicken, pot roast, turkey breast, meatloaf etc. prepared on Sat night and cooked in the crockpot on Sun. I have to serve and cleanup, but no actual cooking from scratch on Sun, unless it's in the crockpot.

So when meal planning I do two things:
(1) I combine the menu ideas that match the day of the week - easy to remember because they are alliteration - you could make up your own to suit your tastes - thereby never being at a loss with the "what's for dinner" question. It also provides a good / wide variety of foods and ethnic tastes, and I don't care for fish except canned albacore tuna, but you're supposed to have omega3 fish twice a week, so having it scheduled twice makes me venture out into making friends with salmon and halibut, etc. Also leftover salmon on a bed of tabouli salad is an excellent lunch for Whole Grain Wednesday.
(2) I look at the sales in grocery flyers, online to save gas and time, and fit the sale items into the day-of-the-week plan.
(3) Whatever day is Grocery Day, I haul everything out of the fridge the day before, empty it of leftovers, and plan that meal (which for me is usually Wildcard Wed) around leftovers. I use up leftovers making soup in crockpot, casseroles, stir fry, that day's dinner menu, homemade freezer meals etc. I also clean out the fridge while it's almost empty, and wipe down the shelves. So Leftovers Day, is the day before Grocery Day. I try to save money and time by doing Grocery Day every 2 wks, but I still do Leftovers Day once every week. On the off week when I'm not buying groceries, then there's more flexibility as to which day is Leftovers / Wildcard Day. I only go to the store on the off week if the sales are especially good on something I have zero stockpile of, or, if necessary because I forgot something that should have went on last week's list.

This process makes narrowing down the weekly menu so simple. It makes it all about picking things you like, and not dreading it. I even can change things and use other recipes not intended, even after going to the store, since I keep the basics in the house. For example, most Mexican recipes have the same key ingredients, so you can try a new Mexican SparkRecipe spontaneously when it's a good day to do so and you have the desire to do so, as long as you keep taco shells and tortillas and beans in the house. Lots of freedom to move and change and be spontaneous, without messing up the grocery plan, by following the "open framework" of the alliteration plan.

"Free men have arms; slaves do not.” -- William Blackstone
~I'm debt free thanks to Dave Ramsey www.daveramsey.com
~FlyLady's getting me organized www.flylady.net
~America is a Republic www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqM7v4XrV7o
~Identify jobs that compliment your passions and talents
~Learn how to keep your gallbladder even thru major wt loss, & keep it healthy www.hwwshow.com


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ADAJLIM
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3/23/09 11:59 A

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Monday: Potato Soup made with polish sausage & broccoli, white rice, small salad on the side.

Tuesday: Chicken breasts w/sautéed mixed vegetables in garlic and rice again!

Wednesday:Spaghetti w/meatballs & homemade bread~I chop up zucchini and add to my spaghetti sauce.

Thursday: Leftover spaghetti or I use the sauce up by making a pizza. I make my own pizza dough and then add the sauce and other favorite toppings~
includes lots of vegetables.

Friday: Salad night! Leftover pizza and make your own salad with choices provided. Usually shredded cheeses, tomatoes, sliced boiled eggs, fresh broccoli.

I also have everything necessary for the whole week and need to use up those potatoes so we might have more potato soup on the weekend!

Dance as though no one is watching you, love as though you have never been hurt, sing as though no one can hear you and live as though heaven is on earth.


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CMEISENHEIMER
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3/23/09 10:45 A

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Would a couple of you post your menus for the week, please just so I can get an idea of how your doing it.

Currently here's what I have:

Monday: Pork Chops, stuffing, corn, garlic noodles

Tuesday: Chicken breasts w/ leftover stuffing, peas and mashed potatoes

Wednesday:Spaghetti w/ hamburger & sauce, green beans, biscuits

Thursday: Leftovers, since DH and I may be late getting home from work. This way our son and my mother can fix their plates and microwave them when they're ready to eat and not have to worry about waiting for us.

Friday: They're on their own as DH and I have a dinner to attend for work.

I already have everything necessary for the whole week but need to stop at the store to buy DS some more milk and sandwhich things. He likes to make homemade subs so I need ham, lettuce, tomatoe and onion.

Just typing it out helped a lot. Now I have a plan, sort of.

Cindy

Co-Leader Nifty & Thrifty! A Budget Mindful Forum
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ndividual.asp?gid=8011


Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

John C. Maxwell


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KIM111884
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3/23/09 9:34 A

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Every week (usually on Friday) I do a quick survey of my pantry and fridge to get an idea of what I should use the next week. Then I make a menu for the next week with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then I use the menu to make a shopping list and gather the coupons I need before heading to the store.



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BLAZINGPHOENIX
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3/23/09 9:27 A

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I use the SP menu suggestions on my nutrition tracker as a guide. I don't always follow the plan but it does help guide me through planning healthier meals.
Lorraine

They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?

Princess Diana



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CHERYLN
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3/23/09 8:07 A

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I could sure use some ideas myself. I'm sure I could lose some weight if I'd plan some meals...just have no ideas anymore. I love it when my daughter cooks except she tends to cook high-caloric/fat meals.

Cheryl from North Dakota
BLC-19 = Navy Ninjas
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BLC 20 - Navy Ninjas
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BLC 24 - Blue belt


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MCDLADY1
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3/23/09 7:55 A

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Could you guys post some plans please for inspiration

I'm determined to be successful at this, but at the same time I will not get depressed if I slip up I will just keep on going and do it a bit at a time.
Never give up remember it is never to late to start again!!! Stay motivated and please help motivate me!!!!


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MARLOU4
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3/23/09 7:52 A

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I try to plan meals for one week and only shop once per week. It is hard for me to plan any longer than that because family schedules and appointments are always changing. I'm sure I could save more if I could plan for a longer time.


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BLAZINGPHOENIX
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3/23/09 7:27 A

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I'm kind of erratic when it comes to meal planning, although I'm getting better at. I tend to keep stock items in our kitchen and then plan from day to day. My husband & I have clashing work schedules so it isn't easy to make sit down dinners every day. Sometimes I have to make things that can be easily reheated a few hours later and still taste good! It's definitely a challenge, but it pays to plan.
Lorraine

They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?

Princess Diana



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MONGO2TEN
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3/23/09 7:09 A

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Yes. My husband gets paid every 2 weeks, so I plan menus for 2 weeks at a time. I tend to rotate a lot of the same items, so once you've done it for a month it does get easier. I try to try out one new recipe each week if I find one that looks good.

~Nancy



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CMEISENHEIMER
CMEISENHEIMER's Photo Posts: 783
3/23/09 6:52 A

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For a week? For a month? I'm trying to figure out which way would be best for me. I usually don't do menus, per say, I just know that we eat chicken twice a week, hamburger twice a week, etc., etc. So I plan out how many meals of each I need and then go from there. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't so I"m contemplating trying a different way.

Cindy

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Every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. The question is always whether you are willing to pay the price to attain it -- in hard work, sacrifice, patience, faith, and endurance.

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