Save Money On the Go-As I mentioned last week, my summer has really “heated up” with 3 of my children in two separate day camps, my oldest receiving driving lessons, two teens volunteering for a night time VBS and our normal weekly events still going on.
I am normally not this busy and I have noticed that when I am, it’s really easy to spend lots of money. To help avoid the money drain, each day this week I will be sharing ways to save money on the go.
Today’s tip is to PLAN WELL.
Fast food just seems easier when you’re in the car a lot, and who wants to cook when you’re exhausted from the day’s activities? Being busy, though, can easily cost you hundreds of extra dollars a month. With a little planning you can save money and eat better.
Plan to Plan
Determine a time when you can take a few minutes to plan each week. If you are a morning person, schedule a few minutes on a morning when you are not as busy. If you are a night owl, schedule an evening planning session. Taking just a few minutes each week (at a regularly scheduled time) to plan your week’s errands, meals and snacks can save you lots of money.
Write Your Plan
Your plan for the week should be written down and posted in a highly visible location (think refrigerator or bulletin board in your kitchen). Plan snacks to take with you, as well as what you will eat when you arrive home, so you don’t have to think about what to cook when you’re tired from the days activities.
You can print a FREE customizable meal planning sheet here.
You can also check out my favorite meal planning service eMeals (affiliate link). Plans start at just $7 a month for a 3 month subscription and include recipes and a grocery list!
Readers of The Peaceful Mom can get an exclusive 10% discount by using promo code PEACEFUL at checkout. They even have a slow cooker plan for those busy weeks!
Click here to see a sample menu.
Jumpstart Your Plan
A terrific time and sanity saver is to plan dinners that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less. Use your slow cooker so that meals are ready when you arrive home or try some of our favorite quick meals: BBQ Black Bean Chicken Tostadas, Turkey Avocado Wrap, Ham and Spinach Pasta, Shrimp and Grits, Turkey Pepper Jack Grilled Cheese, and Black Bean Chicken Chili. Salads, wraps and grilled sandwiches are super quick to prepare and easy to clean up afterward.
Quesadillas are another quick dinner option and very versatile. Add leftover meat and veggies to make a heartier meal. If you have never made quesadillas before, check out this Easy Quesadilla Recipe.
Check Your Plan
Check your plan each night to see if you need to thaw anything or do any other prep for the next day. Check your plan again in the morning to remind yourself what you will be having for dinner so you won’t be tempted to visit the drive through on the way home.
What planning tips do you use to save money? Leave a comment so we can all learn from each other.
[Click here for Save Money On The Go Tip #2!]
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I was wondering where that clear/ orange planner is from. Like where did you buy it at?
I purchased it at Walgreen’s last year. The publisher is Avalon. I think they can be found at CVS as well, but I am not sure that you will be able to find the exact one that I have.
Having partially prepared meals in the freezer at all times really helps me on those busy days when I’m tempted to go out! I try to always have taco meat, shredded chicken, diced veggies, pasta sauces, (you get the picture) in the freezer that can be taken out last minute for a quick and easy meal. The types of meals you mentioned in your post are made even quicker when the main ingredients are already prepped! I also use sales/coupons to buy hot dogs and frozen foods like tacquitos or pizza very inexpensively – not the healthiest, but okay once or twice a month instead of going out!
Great tip Emily! I keep cooked ground beef and shredded chicken in the freezer too. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t have dinner some nights–LOL!
This was very timely. I’m the coordinator for our VBS program (which incidentally started today), and I was with my girls at an all-day dance competition on Saturday. Due to my lack of planning and time for shopping/cooking, my children actually ate cereal for dinner last night, and I had to buy a $5 Little Ceasar’s pizza today for lunch. Rather than beat myself up, I decided to definitely participate in a session tomorrow for the Mom’s Morning Out that coincides with our VBS. The topic tomorrow is easy and quick meal preparation which is something I really need a crash course in! Thanks for the continued inspiration.
No guilt Laura! That Mom’s Morning Out sounds great. 🙂
On days when I know I’m going to be super busy , I pack a bag of healthy snacks and drinks for the kids … I also like to put my dinner in the slow cooker in the morning before heading out , so when we get home dinner is all done .
Yay for crockpots! 🙂
This is so true. I found we spent way more on a weekend that turned upside down where I spent alot of down time with a migraine. The boys and my husband spent more money on fast food in 2 days than we try to spend in 5. Ouch! Planning ahead really helps.