Today I’m sharing 3 Friday favorites! This time I’m sharing things that really are my favorites because if I stopped incorporating these things in my life I’d really be out of balance. I’d love to hear your favorites too, so be sure to share in the comments.
Weekly Meal Planning
I feel like lately, meal planning is all everyone talks about, I don’t have an extravagant or long drawn out method. For a few weeks I made all the meals in advance and that really didn’t work for me. Here’s how I manage meals as a working mom on a budget.
- Search Pinterest for some meal ideas.
- List the meals out by day in a Word document with the links to the recipe.
- Click each link and search for ingredients I may need to purchase and list those out in my Word document.
- Then I head over to my online grocery ordering site and start searching and adding the ingredients I need there. This allows me to price compare and the site also saves things I buy every week which makes shopping super quick and easy, and I’m less likely to forget something.
- Finally, I check out through my online grocery ordering site and select a pick-up date that’s convenient for us.
Here are a few things I consider when selecting meals for the week.
- Balance of easy vs. more complicated meals
- My week schedule- are we going to be home and are there days we’ll have less time to cook dinner?
- I try to make sure to add some healthier options along with some options that will keep us excited and less apt to head for a restaurant.
- I add one or two meals that could be pre-cooked in a crock pot or ahead of time (like chili or salad).
This method helps me save money (since I’m able to price shop better and throw less of the things I don’t need in my cart), saves me time, and keeps me from throwing away a bunch of things we may have otherwise bought that go bad. Our meals were also getting kind of borning. This way I’m mixing it up and I have been saving all the weekly menus for future reference in case I don’t have as much time to meal plan; I can just repeat a week later on.
AND I can pull up my menu document at any point throughout the week and link straight to the recipe to quickly get my meal started. I also pre-read all the recipes before so I have kind of an idea of what I’m getting into each night. Sometimes I don’t even have to have the recipe up.
I heard Memphis is getting a grocery delivery service soon… WHAT??? #lifechanging
Zero Base Budgeting
We took a Financial Peace class about 7 years ago and we’ve tried to stick to the basic principles we learned. We took a refresher course this past January and it was a great way to start incorporating some of the things we weren’t able to get to the last time around (like will planning). One thing we have really tried to be consistent with is the zero-based budget. Basically here are the steps:
- List out all your expenses. There’s a form on the site.
- Then list out all of your paychecks and start incorporating which items need to come out of which check.
- Pull out the money in cash that is not paid towards specific bills and assign envelopes to those categories. For example, cosmetics, haircuts, and gifts are all categories where you could assign envelopes for this method.
- Don’t forget to incorporate one-time items like tax preparation and car registration and divide those things by 12 months so that you don’t have to cover the bulk of these expenses at once. By saving for them each month in an envelope you’re less likely to have a heavy hit with unexpected expenses.
Here’s an example snapshot of a portion of our budget template.
If I stopped budgeting it would really stress me out. We tend to spend a lot more on entertainment and eating out than we realize and that stuff adds up quickly. By doing it this way it keeps our whole family sane and then we also budget for things we may otherwise forget about like vacation and cosmetics! I think there are easier online ways to do this instead of on a spreadsheet, but I’ve been doing it this way for so long that it’s hard to change over to something new.
Kids Quiet Time
My older son is not so keen on naptime, so I stopped fighting it. We have an extra bedroom and when my daughter napping, my son knows it’s time for quiet time in that room (so he doesn’t distract her from sleeping). We try to be consistent with it, instituting it every weekend day, and we allow him to play with toys and look at books. We set a timer for one hour and he has a chance to decompress and relax for that hour doing one of the things we’ve put in the room for him (magnablocks, puzzles, a stack of books, legos, etc.)
This gives us a quiet house for at least one hour on the weekend days. And sometimes, I get to take my own nap in my own bed. Sometimes.
What are your favorites?