One of the hardest parts of eating healthy and saving money is all the planning that you have to do. I have added all my favorite tools to make this possible. Most of the pictures are links that will take you directly to the website to check it out yourself.
Without a plan, I fail every time.
When Randall and I got married in 2008 we were very serious about setting our finances up for success. We took a class offered at our church called Financial Peace University. This started us on a journey off living a debt free life and helping others do the same.
First we had to pay off a lot debt we had from our previous marriages.
So we made a budget.
Our plan was to spend $150 a week on groceries for a family of 5. We believe in Dave Ramsey’s method of using cash as much as possible so I had to be purposeful in the store or I would go over. That was a little embarrassing at first. Which meant I had to be very purposeful before I went to the store. I would spend hours and hours searching through recipes to pick something for us to eat.
I might be weird, but I do not like to eat the same thing over and over. I lived with my grandmother in my early teen years into adulthood and we had Meatloaf Mondays and Spaghetti Wednesdays for as long as I remember.
I need variety. So I would search and search and search to find new recipes.
Around 2012 I found a meal planning program Dave Ramsey was affiliated with called Emeals.
This was a game changer for me.
Here are some of the reasons I love EMEALS…
1. I get to choose which menu plan I want.
When my children were younger I cooked the Kid Friendly and Classic Meals, but as they got older and Randall and I started to live a healthier lifestyle I have used so many of the others.
2. I can simply switch the plan whenever I need to.
Switching plans is instant and free by clicking a button. When it’s close to payday, I use the Budget Friendly plan. When I know it’s a busy week, I would use 30 minute meals. When we went on the Daniel Fast, we used Clean Eating. For now my favorite is Quick and Healthy. All the meals are healthy with calories listed and they take around 30 minutes.
3. The cost is very reasonable for the resource.
Like I have said before, I am very frugal. I do not like to spend more than necessary on anything. You can quit at any time. If you want to try it before you buy it, they offer a 14 day trial. In the beginning I thought I would print out the recipes and eventually just recycle through them to save money. But every time I try to quit, I come back. It’s just that easy and convenient, and the customer service is amazing.
4. It comes in a pdf and is easy to print.
In the beginning I printed it out and kept it in the kitchen so Randall could cook if necessary. This doesn’t happen very often but it has a time or two.
5. The organized shopping list
I do not go in the store anymore, but when I did, I loved the fact that it had the list organized by sections in the store so I didn’t waste time roaming around. I would just add other items I need for the house on their list to make shopping easier.
6. Emeals app
I love the app, and that it is compatible with android. My favorite part of the app is the pictures. I need pictures folks. I am not a great cook, but somehow when I see what it should look like, it makes all the difference.
I often document my process on snapchat.
Look me up and you can follow my cooking journey. I started because I was so bored in the kitchen, and snapchatting made me feel like my friends were there with me.
If you were curious why my snapchat name is so weird it’s because a friend helped me make it one night when I was trying to be cool and jump on the snapping bandwagon. I didn’t realize I was committed to it for life. My name means red so that is why all the words are associated with red.
7. The app is compatible with online grocery shopping
This is my new favorite part. Emeals hooked up with Krogers and Walmart (along with a few other places I have not tried). I can send my list to one of these stores.
The store gives me suggestions for each item.
I choose the brand I want (which is usually the cheapest) and it sends it to my cart. I pay online and pick up my groceries later that day or the next day. Walmart has a promo for $10 off your first time with them, and they do not charge to use there service. Krogers allows you to get your first 4 pickups free and then it’s about $5 after that.
8. EMEALS makes living a healthy lifestyle possible.
It’ so easy and convenient to plan my meals and grocery shop that we rarely eat out. This save us time, money, and pounds.
Like I said before I need variety in my life. I do not want to eat the same thing every week. On a side note, I don’t watch movies or TV shows over and over either unless it’s Friends, New Girl, Sweet Home Alabama or of course my all time favorite…
10. The meals taste good.
This is probably what is most important to you. You’re thinking ok all that sounds great, but do they taste good? Yes! Yes! Yes! The meals taste good. If you’re an amazing cook, I would say the meals are amazing. I’m a very basic cook, I do not love cooking and so I don’t put a lot of pride in perfecting it. I cook because I’m hungry and so are my family members. As a whole after using Emeals this long, I have improved my cooking skills, and truly broadened my knowledge of food. Every once in a while we will find something that was spicier than I expected (I’m a spice weeney) or the meal wasn’t our favorite, but that happens with all meals everywhere. Over the years I have learned what we like and don’t like and I will tweak stuff to accommodate our taste. Like cutting out raw red onion in a salad.
I also learned to cut corners, if a meal suggest a block of cheese and then directs me to shredded it, I will buy shredded cheese from the get go.
The meals I cook usually make enough so that I can pack it up and have lunch for us the next day. This takes care of two meals a day.
To make life even easier and more organized…
I created a google doc to keep up with what I am cooking. It helps us know what was cooked and when.
Breakfast became my only nemesis and I decided to sit down for a couple days and solve that problem. I planned out my breakfast ideas for a month. Some of the meals have links to recipes I pinned. Most of which have ideas to add to your meal. For example if I am making oatmeal, I want a link to different toppings.
Again, I love variety
I cook very simple breakfast Monday through Friday. It’s usually a breakfast meat, egg and potato in some form.
I LOVE everything that comes from potatoes.
A couple years ago Randall started having high cholesterol so we started replacing a few breakfast meals a week with cereal and oats.
We try to make our breakfast as healthy as possible, but we are not extreme about it. I replace regular sausage and bacon with Turkey meat. But on the weekend we splurge and eat the real deal. For health reason I try to avoid gluten, but I still cook things with gluten for the rest of the family (and for myself, when the punishment is worth the crime). Randall’s job is very physical and he likes substance that will last a while, that’s why we do heartier meals.
I hope this Monthly Menu template helps you. I use the online version for a quick reference to the the links on pinterest, and I print it and put it on my fridge so I have the plan right in front of me for the month. On the weekend I plan out my Emeals according to what we have going on that week and I write it in on the printed version hanging on my fridge.
I want to share it with you for free, so you have another tool in your toolbox.
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Have a blessed day!