You all know that I have a hard time with meal planning and kitchen organization. One of my biggest struggles has always been eating out, because I haven’t planned for nights when I feel sick or tired, or nights when something unexpected comes up and I don’t have a lot of time to cook.
I’m getting better at planning ahead, but at times I still fall back on “cheats” to make planning a little easier. In the past I’ve used Menus 4 Moms, which is free, but the recipes aren’t always terribly healthy. I’ve used Menu Mailer, which is definitely healthy, but also expensive.
With that in mind, I was very interested when Jamie of Baby Get Green contacted me about mentioning her e-book “A Month of Meals” on BeingFrugal.net. Normally, I’d post something like this on the reviews part of my site, or give it a brief mention in a roundup. But I really like this e-book, for a couple of reasons.
The first is that I always appreciate when an ordinary mom (if there is such a thing as an ordinary mom) takes her skills and talents and creates something useful for others, as Jamie has done with her book.
Second, I really like this ebook! Unlike other menu plans, this one is focused on saving money, eating well, and wasting less.
First, the author gives a basic rundown of healthy eating and saving money on grocery shopping and the benefits of each. It’s basic information that has been discussed on this blog and many others, but I like that Jamie felt these issues important enough to mention in her ebook.
Next, Jamie lists the meals included in the ebook, as well as a list of staples to have on hand. The list of staples is very basic, and I would venture to say most people have many, if not all, of these ingredients on hand already. There aren’t any weird spices or seasonings that are only used for one meal, which is another thing I appreciate. It’s not frugal to buy an expensive spice jar to use for one meal!
There are twenty-six meals included in this ebook. They are very basic and easy to prepare, yet healthy and tasty. Six of the meals are meant to be made ahead and frozen for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking. You all know I appreciate that!
The meals plans are listed in a handy chart and also in 3×5 card format, so you can print them out and add them to your recipe box, if you like. There are shopping lists for each week, with space for you to write in any other items you need. Jamie also estimates the cost of the ingredients for her lists, noting that prices may vary, depending on where you live. Still, the recipes are pretty frugal for any area of the country.
A Month of Meals is concluded with information and suggestions from the USDA food pyramid. Jamie also includes charts for tracking your diet, if you’re trying to eat healthier or lose weight.
In the end, if you’re adept at menu planning and frugal shopping, you’ll want to pass on this ebook. But if you’re just getting started with frugality and menu planning, A Month of Meals is a good resource. At $6.95 it’s affordable, and if you have a problem with eating out, due to lack of planning, you’ll easily save that much the first month you use it.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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