similar each week.
As I grew in my cooking, I began to learn to get the store sale papers each week and see what was on sale. If it wasn't on sale - we didn't eat it!! :-) It help my learning experience to find new meat on sale(besides my favorite hamburger) and then find some way to cook it. My learning kinda hit a wall as far as planning was concerned. My meals were still growing, but I didn't change my method of preparation for years.
Months ago, I had a revelation. I had been sweeping my living room and there were a few pennies and a dime in the dirt pile. You have to understand my house - when I sweep (a multi - times a day event) - the dust pan is always overflowing!! We make a lot of dirt!! I never would get little pennies out of the dirt pile. As I was sweeping I was reminded of the story of the widow woman in the Bible who was rejoicing when she found her lost coin. Then I thought about the verses about keeping account of your herds and how God was a God of order. It wasn't honoring to Him or Artie (who works so hard for us) for me to sweep up money and throw it in the trash. Basically it was laziness. I could justify - it's just a penny - but wow, they add up. I decided I would be more faithful about the money God and Artie gave me to work with. I started collecting every penny I found. I began finding them everywhere. Some days I would have more than a dollar in my pocket at the end of the day.
It was that same time that my eyes were opened to couponing. I use to coupon - saving maybe $5-8 a trip - years ago. That's not what I'm talking about. I am COUPONING!!! In one weekend at a triple sale I saved over ....$550!!!! It has been amazing to me and everyone who has watched the process. I have found so much to buy with those little pennies I had been throwing away. Bread for $.29, spices for pennies, sugar for $.19, the list is endless. That's not even counting the many many things I've been able to get totally free.
Now, for the first time in our marriage, my freezer is full from stocking up when I can get things very cheap or better yet, free. My grocery bill has dropped from $300 a week (for everything - paper products, cat food, diapers, health and beauty supplies) to $200 a week for 8 people. I didn't get a bunch of money and go and stock up. I am adding to my stock each week as I'm watching my grocery bill go down!!! It's amazing to me to watch the growth and the money savings all at the same time. I think God smiles when he looks at my growing pantry. It feels very Proverb 31ish to me!! :-)
So, now my planning consists of getting my little piece of paper and my calendar - seeing what is going on that week - and then going to the freezer and writing down the meats I have in there. I plan meals based on what I already have and then just get the few items I need to round it out.