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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cutting Your Grocery Budget

I have a confession.

I hate meal planning.

No really. I hate thinking about what to make for dinner, as it usually dawns on me at about 5:30 that people are hungry. It's not fun. I don't like that question, "What's for dinner?". I usually answer it by saying, "I don't know - what are you making?".

Do you feel the same way?

What happens on nights like these - when you haven't planned, and you're too pooped to come up with some meal? You go grab some take out, right? I must say that we were becoming regulars at Domino's, McDonalds, Papa Murphys and Panda Express (oh I miss you Panda!). It wasn't good for our budget, or for my waistline.

A few weeks ago I told you about how we are working to get out of debt. One of the first things to go, of course, was weeknight eating out. (Ahem, I still get my weekly DATE NIGHT though!). So what does this mean for me - a mommy who doesn't excel at menu planning and cooking?

I found the PERFECT solution. It's perfect for me (and I think you'll love it too!).

A day of freezer cooking.

Now, don't give up on me yet. This isn't just a cooking up a storm all by yourself day once a month. This is FUN STUFF I'm talking about! Just like you're more likely to exercise if you have a buddy, you're more likely to do mass cooking if you do it with FRIENDS! In fact, YOU WILL DO IT! Because they'll be counting on you!

Monica has been doing Freezer Meal Cooking for over 3 years now! She's a PRO! She got us going in January, and I must say, it is one of the best things that has happened to me. I am a much happier woman. And my family's tummy's are full.

In January I paid $85 for 12 meals. An average of $7 per meal. These are nice meals. Like BBQ Chicken Pizza with fresh cilantro, Calzones, Manicotti, and Chicken Enchiladas to name a few. And we had leftovers nearly every night (read: hubby's lunch the next day - saves even more money!).

And what do you think happened as a result of having all these meals on hand? I SHOPPED LESS and I SAVED MONEY! I spent a total of $275 in February. This INCLUDES the formula for my baby! I have SIX KIDS! I fed my family for a month for only $275 (this includes the $85 for freezer meals).

So starting next week, we will have a weekly post telling you how this whole process works. It's can get a little crazy the week of the cooking group - especially if you are the shopper/host. But we're going to lay it all out for you. AND we'll give you some recipes WITH pictures!

Are you already doing this? Do you have a recipe you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment or email us at fabulesslyfrugal@gmail.com.


Allmaras Family said...

I am trying that make a mix cookbook from the 70's it seems to be a good one so far. I just started the process. and this week at albertson's is a good week to buy hamburger and beef roast!

Stephanie said...

I've been interested in trying this, but have had a hard time finding good freezer recipes. Any help you could give, especially in the recipe area would be awesome!

Tricia said...

Hey Cathy - Steph told me about the last time you guys did this and how well it works. Can't wait to hear!


Amber said...

I have to put my 2 cents in here. I too LOVE freezer meal group (I've been in one w/ Monica for over a year). And if it seems intimidating at first, it get easy after a few months. The reward is sooo worth a few hours of hard cooking! I also know a few people looking to form a group. So if any of you are interested after Cathy and Monica dish all the details, let me know and I'll get you in touch with others looking to get a group together.

Angela said...

I love the freezer meals swap! (We would swap those once/month). I have also done the fresh meals swap with a group of 4 of us. (That is where each of us takes one day Mon-Thurs, and prepare 4 main dishes + one side. Then deliver them un-cooked to each other by 5:30pm.)

There were PROS and CONS to both...
-The freezer group was so nice because you only cooked once/month and it really does save a TON of money!! It's way cheaper I think. The only down side is that you still have to decide which meal you want every night and have to remember to take it out of the freezer ahead of time to thaw.

-I actually liked the fresh meal swap better, because we had a menu we went by and it took the deciding factor out of the picture. And if you are a little more scatter-brianed like me, you don't have to worry about always forgetting to thaw your meal for that night. (Maybe I just need to be better at planning ahead!) And I liked having the side dish with it too. The down side to this one is that it seemed a lot more expensive. The other thing, and I didn't mind it at all, but you do have to cook once a week for this one.

Sarah said...

I have tried doing this on my own a few times. If I actually do it, it works great! If there is a set time, group, cost, etc., I think it would work even better. I'd love to attend!

sheryl said...

I have really been wanting to try this. I can't wait to get some more information. Meal planning is definitely not my strength.

Cami Jill said...

This is a must for me whenever I can forsee months of craziness (pregnancy - new baby - husband's busy season) Anyway, my fav book on the subject is "Dinner's Ready". I will email you my personal plan

PlaytoSave said...

This is SO exciting! I REALLY want to do this. I also hate meal planning and struggle to vary what we are eating around here. I will definitley be tuning in!

Cromwell Kids said...


Hey I saw your blog…a friend from my ward suggested it in our RS newsletter. I just moved to Eagle from Idaho Falls. I started a little freezer group there. The group consisted of 12 women who made 12 of the same meal. We then met at someone’s house once a month and exchanged our meals. It was so wonderful. We have some great recipes. I made a apple cranberry pork roast last month that was divine!!! Where is your group located? How exactly do you do your exchange of meals? Is there a possibility that I may join your cool club? 

My number is 938-5580 and my cell is 208-709-8216

Michelene M. Cromwell

Tiffani said...

The link for garlic herb burgers is not working...I was hoping to see it. Thanks!

Monica said...


I fixed the link and organized the recipes a little better. We need to add some more, but my food photography is so bad. Maybe I will add them with out the pics!
Hope you like the herb burgers we love them!

kaley said...

i am so excited for this! i do freezer meals but haven't drifted from traditional pasta meals [baked ziti, stuffed shells, manicotti and lasagna] ... i feel those are a fail safe! they are awesome to have in the freezer for unexpected company or a 'lazy' night. i am happy to see other recipes though and cannot wait to try them!

Fabulessly Frugal said...

Yeah! Kaley. Have fun. Feel free to share some of you fail safe recipes with us at fabulesslyfrugal at gmail dot com and we will share them with EVERYONE!