Reverse Meal Planning – How I Save A Ton On Groceries By Reverse Meal Planning!

Have you tried reverse meal planning? Learn how I use reverse meal planning to make a HUGE dent in our weekly grocery budget without having to clip coupons!

Over the past several years, I have discussed here on FFF how I truly feel that the “secret” to saving money on groceries is meal planning. Meal planning can make an enormous difference in your grocery budget.

The difference between walking into my local grocery store with a list and without a list is absolutely measurable. I spend so much more money if I walk in without a plan!

Meal planning in general is one of those tasks that can initially seem super challenging, but once you get into a flow and have a few weeks of plans under your belt, it can become incredibly effortless. OR, you can also just outsource meal planning to a service like eMeals, Eat at Home, Six Sisters, etc.

Even though I do find meal planning to be a huge money saver, the biggest money saver I have found regarding grocery shopping is REVERSE Meal Planning! Oh, and I RARELY use coupons when I reverse menu plan…only if they are right there next to the product and stupid easy to grab!

Click to purchase on Amazon!

Oh gosh, what is this fanciness you might be asking?

Reverse Meal Planning is not for everyone.

Reverse meal planning might not be for you if you don’t have:  

Time – It involves shopping multiple stores, or at least going to one store more often than you would typically go grocery shopping.

A lack of brand/store loyalty – If you REFUSE to give up your favorite brand, or maybe you have specific dietary needs so you CAN’T buy just any kind pasta, etc this might not be the form of meal planning for you.

Creativity – Okay, you don’t need a ton of creativity, but some weeks you might only find foods on sale that are not in your typical wheelhouse! You need to be okay with hopping on to AllRecipes or Pinterest and finding a recipe for something that is potentially outside your family’s typical rotation.

Storage – If you don’t have a lot of storage for both perishables/non perishables, this might not be the meal planning option for you. However, you CAN do Reverse Meal Planning without a lot of storage, but you likely will not be able to build up too much of a stockpile which means you will have to be very inventive in the kitchen from week to week as you will have less of an arsenal to pull ingredients from.

Okay, now that we have established who Reverse Meal Planning is NOT for…

Reverse Meal Planning might be for you if: 

  1. You don’t mind stopping by Kroger on your way home. HEB once over the weekend. Aldi a few times a month. Checking the store ads at Walmart/Target/Amazon Subscribe & Save/insert other grocery store here. You will go to the grocery store more often with reverse meal planning.
  2. You enjoy being a bit creative in the kitchen!
  3. You have room to store extra items for when you find a good deal and you are able to stock up!

You Still Want To Give Reverse Meal Planning A Shot? 

Well, here goes…first off, you walk into the store without a list.

Are you shocked? Are you wondering why I just harped on always entering a grocery store with a LIST above and now I’m telling you to walk into a grocery store without a list?

Are you concerned I am going crazy?

Here’s the thing, Reverse Meal Planning is about creating your meal plans based on what is on sale and what you have in your pantry/fridge/deep freezer.

The longer you Reverse Meal Plan, and the more you build your stockpile, the more money you will save!

How to Reverse Meal Plan

First off, you’ll walk into your local grocery store and raid the markdowns! Look for the loss leaders (the top half of the store ad is usually the loss leaders. These are the items that your grocery store is selling for dirt cheap to get you in the door in the hopes that the rest of your cart will be filled with full priced items).

My biggest hint is to look for Manager’s Specials in the meat department. 90% of the proteins I bring into our home are either on sale or Manager’s Specials that are 25-75% off the retail price! Use good judgement here, if the meat already looks iffy…it won’t get better looking at home. I ONLY buy markdowns if they look just as good as the full priced meat.

Often these proteins are so deeply discounted only because they are close to their “sell by” date.

Guess what though? I have a deep freezer! I package all of these proteins in freezer friendly bags and write the date on them (FoodSafety.gov has a great chart for how long items can stay refrigerated/in a typical freezer/in a deep freezer).

Then I scan the rest of the store for good deals. The signage for markdowns in most stores is generally pretty clear. You can usually whiz down aisles pretty quickly and the markdowns will stand out.

You HAVE to be able to resist impulse purchases. Adopt the motto, if it’s not marked down…it does not go in my cart! 

Do this at as many local stores as you have access/time to visit. At first, you’ll still have to menu plan a bit traditionally.

I recommend trying to use Week 1 and Week 2 of Reverse Meal Planning as “clean out the pantry/fridge” weeks. As you gradually build your stockpile, you will be able to menu plan based on what you have on hand. You will rarely be shopping for THIS week’s groceries each week. 

Instead, this week’s grocery shopping trip will be for fresh produce (on sale if possible), fresh dairy for your family and finding markdowns to stockpile for future menus. You will also likely have to buy a few items here and there to flesh out your meal plan.

For instance: 

I might have a dinner of pork chops (found on markdown and frozen a couple of weeks ago), mashed cauliflower (frozen bag of cauliflower found on sale about a month ago and stashed into my deep freezer) and a spinach salad planned for dinner one night this week.

This week, I will put a bag of spinach for my spinach salad on my grocery list, but otherwise, everything else for this meal I already have on hand!

Reverse meal planning will not be for everyone. It requires time and effort. There are many other alternatives to reverse menu planning that will also save you money and cut down on your grocery bill. I encourage you to give it a shot though. Or do a hybrid!

Leave a couple of days of the week unplanned until after you grocery shop. Use your grocery store markdown finds to play your own personal version of Chopped based on what you find.

Do you reverse meal plan? Are you considering it? Comment below and let me know what you think!

How To Cook Thick Boneless Pork Chops – Perfect Every Time!

How To Cook Thick Boneless Pork Chops

This super easy recipe for how to cook thick boneless pork chops is foolproof! You start by pan searing these pork chops and then finish them off by baking them in the oven. This super easy recipe results in tasty, juicy pork chops every single time! You have to try these!

 

It’s time for an admission. I love pork chops, but I am awful at making them. Honestly they are always way too dry and disgusting. They are such a budget cut of meat though, so I just keep trying!

(Looking for more budget meals? Check out this awesome one pot chicken with rice recipe!)

Recently, I was sent a box of meat from Butcher Box (here is the unboxing!) and included in the box were some very thick cut pork chops. I had never cooked pork chops that were this thick before, so I ran to google for suggestions. I ended up taking several different suggestions and coming up with this!

(Need a side item? Check out this awesome creamy Parmesan spinach OR this creamy cauliflower mash! If you are not following a low carb/keto diet, you could make my awesome mashed potatoes!)

Now, every time I make pork chops, I know they will be PERFECT!

You might also like: Reverse Meal Planning – How I Save A Ton On Groceries By Reverse Meal Planning!

How To Cook Thick Boneless Pork Chops

Ingredients: 

  • Thick Boneless Pork Chops (between 1 1/2-2 inches)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Directions: 

  1. First you’ll want to bring your pork chops to room temperature (or close to it).
  2. Also, if there is fat along one side of the pork chop, you might want to “score” (cut into) it about every half inch or so.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  4. In a heavy duty, oven safe pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  5. Season your pork chops with salt and pepper
  6. Place your pork chops in your pan and brown them on all sides. This will probably take a couple of minutes per side.
  7. Once your oven is ready, put your pork chops in until they reach 145 degrees internally. This took about 10 minutes for me. (these will “cook” more during rest. Don’t skip the rest! The rest is essential!)
  8. Take your pork chops out of the oven and put them on a plate. Tent some aluminum foil over your plate.
  9. Now make your gravy (I made a simple packet gravy in the pan the pork chops cooked in…it gave it extra flavor!) and any sides while your pork chops rest for a bit.
  10. Serve your pork chops and enjoy!

Yum!

How To Cook Thick Boneless Pork Chops – Perfect Every Time!
Ingredients
  • Thick Boneless Pork Chops (between 1 1/2-2 inches)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. First you’ll want to bring your pork chops to room temperature (or close to it).
  2. Also, if there is fat along one side of the pork chop, you might want to “score” (cut into) it about every half inch or so.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  4. In a heavy duty, oven safe pan, heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  5. Season your pork chops with salt and pepper
  6. Place your pork chops in your pan and brown them on all sides. This will probably take a couple of minutes per side.
  7. Once your oven is ready, put your pork chops in until they reach 145 degrees internally. This took about 10 minutes for me.
  8. Take your pork chops out of the oven and put them on a plate. Tent some aluminum foil over your plate.
  9. Now make your gravy (I made a simple packet gravy in the pan the pork chops cooked in…it gave it extra flavor!) and any sides while your pork chops rest for a bit.
  10. Serve your pork chops and enjoy!
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How To Get Rid Of Lice (And How To Prevent Lice)

How to get rid of lice! 

Learn how to get rid of lice with this super easy at home diy treatment! This easy removal remedy for lice (doesn’t your head itch just reading that word?!) primarily includes products that you already have in your house! Plus, tips for lice prevention. 

I have never had lice in my whole life and assumed it was not something I would ever have to worry about with my own children.

I was wrong!

One summer, we had a brief encounter with some head lice. Ugh, it was not fun, but thankfully, we were able to get rid of it fairly quickly.

You might be worried this is going to be super expensive and if you are already on a budget, this might be adding to your stress. Don’t worry! This is a super low cost and EFFECTIVE way for treating and preventing lice. 

Here’s what we did: 

How to get rid of lice! 

  1. Coated hair with mayo (full fat!) and piled it all on her head. Covered with a shower cap for 8+ hours. (yes…gross, but I think this step was KEY!)
  2. Washed out mayo with blue dawn
  3. Followed up immediately with Fairy Tales Lice Good-Bye Survival Kit treatment. Nit combed (using the AWESOME comb in the kit) until I couldn’t get anything else out anymore (she has long/thick hair…it easily took over an hour!)
  4. Nit combed DAILY for the first week. I used this super cheap Suave conditioner to make it easier. I used gobs of it! It wasn’t really seeing anything, but I wanted to be safe!
  5. Repeated the Fairy Tales Lice Good-Bye Survival Kit treatment a week later (even though there were no lice left after the first treatment…I wanted to be sure we didn’t miss any eggs!).

In addition, we washed ALL beddings and linens on high heat and put all stuffed animals in garage jail for 2 weeks.

(Edited to add: We also blow dried her hair and straightened it with a flat iron every day for a week! They don’t like heat!)

You might also like: Where to Start? Learn How To Use Coupons

How To Prevent Lice

Recently, we received word that there is a lice breakout at the kids school. To make sure we don’t have to deal with this again, I’ve been using the Fairy Tales Repel Conditioning Spray that comes in this kit (plus pulling my daughter’s hair back and spraying copious amounts of hairspray in her hair) on both of my kids each morning.

I have heard that you can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to your child’s regular shampoo. This tea tree oil is perfect for this purpose. 

Remember, the myth that lice like dirty hair is SO completely wrong! They LOVE squeaky clean hair! So if there is a lice outbreak at your child’s school, make sure you pull their hair back and then at the VERY least, coat their hair with hair spray!

You might also like: Keeping Hair Tangle Free

Sharing is Caring…But Don’t Share Lice! 

Finally, be HONEST about it. There is such a stigma attached to head lice, but that’s actually probably why it spreads so easily.

Nobody wants to talk about it!

We were lucky that our incident occurred over the summer, so we were able to just stay home and away from others while we treated.

However, if your child needs to go to school, be sure to let the school nurse know so he/she can be vigilant and stop the outbreak from rounding back again at some point! (and follow your school/district’s policy regarding returning to school after lice treatment)

Enjoy!

Are you an avid Amazon shopper? I am thanks to Amazon Prime!

With Amazon Prime I get FREE 2 day shipping on most products. 

Right now you can get a FREE trial of Amazon Prime!

Find more hot deals here. Most are time sensitive, so don’t delay!

Easy Cake Batter Pancake Recipe

Easy Cake Batter Pancake Recipe

This super easy cake batter pancake recipe is the perfect special celebration breakfast! Use a box mix of cake mix to make these cake batter pancakes a breeze. My kids would argue that the delicious icing makes these cake batter pancakes next level AWESOME! #cakebatterpancakes #breakfastcelebration #pancakerecipe #homemadepancakes

 

3 years ago today, I met my little girl face to face for the first time. I remember my eyes filling with tears as I gasped when I saw her sweet face. The emotions overwhelmed me and I instantly felt a rush of love and affection towards this tiny stranger who I’d felt kicking and squirming inside me just moments earlier.

It was a radically different experience in comparison with the birth of my son. When he was born, I loved him instantly, but I didn’t know what was to come, it was all a mystery.

My sweet boy taught me to be a mom and taught me what it felt like to earn and receive the love of a child. When Elizabeth came into this world, I knew the love and the laughter that awaited. I felt joy and elation at what the next years of our lives together would bring.

Today she’s 3 and I have not been disappointed for one minute. God could not have blessed me with a daughter that was more perfect and more perfectly imperfect in all the right ways. I’m honored to be her mom every single day. 

I love you Princess Peach!

♥♥♥♥♥

In honor of my sweet girl’s birthday, I decided she needed a special breakfast! I saw these pancakes a few weeks back and I just knew I had to make them!

I woke up early to get them prepared (I actually mixed the dry ingredients the night before since I don’t trust myself with flour and other powdery ingredients first thing in the morning!) and was taking the very last picture (Hey I’m a blogger, it’s a requirement) as the kids walked out of their room and were greeted by Lizzie’s new pink scooter (pulled out of our gift closet. Both the scooter and the LaLaLoopsy doll were bought for under $20 combined!)  😉

These were tasty, and the kids LOVED them. I’m not a sweet breakfast eater, but the bit I did have was very tasty and enjoyable.

Definitely make these for the next birthday in your family! Any excuse to be a Rockstar Mommy, right? 😉

Cake Batter Pancakes

Source: How Sweet It Is

Ingredients for Pancakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cake mix
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 cups milk (mine needed closer to 2, but I started at 1 and added little by little)
  • rainbow sprinkles

Pancake Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients (flour, cake mix, sugar, baking powder & salt…you can do this the night before if you can’t be trusted with flour in the morning 😉 )

2. Add wet ingredients and mix until fully combined. Start with 1 cup of milk and add more if necessary. I needed close to 2 cups. You want the batter to be a bit on the thin side but not watery at all. Just like typical pancake batter. According to How Sweet It Is, it seems to depend on what cake mix you buy how much milk you need.

3. Fold in sprinkles

4. Cook the pancakes like normal on a hot griddle or pan.

Ingredients for Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon milk (to start)
  • sprinkles

Directions for Glaze:

1. Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla & milk together until it forms a glaze. You might need to add more milk.

2. Add sprinkles

3. Pour over pancakes!

This recipe made us 10 pancakes but some of my earlier pancakes were too big, so it could probably easily make 12.

What a special treat for a birthday breakfast!

Be sure to check out all the frugal recipes here on Family Friendly Frugality!

*HOT* 16 Meat Items from Omaha Steaks Just $45 Shipped! PLUS 4 Creme Brulee’s!

This AWESOME Plum District deal from Omaha Steaks is back!

Right now for $75 you can get:

  • four (8 oz.) Private Reserve Top Sirloins
  • four (4 oz.) Boneless Pork Chops
  • four (4 oz. approx.) Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 4 (4 oz.) Omaha Steaks Burgers
  • 4 Creme Brulee for dessert.

It gets even better though because today you can use the coupon code CYBER40 to get 40% off your purchase!

This is such an awesome deal. For $45 you can all that food!

If you are a new Plum District member you SHOULD get $5 credit as well which means you will get all of this for just $40 shipped!

Enjoy!

*YOU can also gift these to a loved one!