Weekly meal planning is like solving a puzzle that pays a cash reward

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Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Keeping your food budget under control will deliver huge savings for most families. I like to start with the best value I can find for quality protein and take it from there.

For us, that’s Costco rotisserie chicken. They are perfectly cooked and delicious. They are made from chickens that are hormone and antibiotic free. One will serve both of us enough protein for 3 meals plus make a quart of bone broth for a hearty soup.

My puzzle is an empty template of 21 meals. We have challenging food allergies so the foods I choose are probably different from yours. The process works the same way though.

I know the Costco chicken (I’d use one chicken for every two people) will serve up three meals. I write those in usually every other day so we don’t get sick of chicken. We have salmon patties once a week. DH loves this one shot at fried food and they are really tasty. He won’t eat any other fish but it’s an economical choice that works for us. Did you know that canned salmon is always wild-caught? The fish is actually canned on the boat from which it’s caught. It’s a great value for the money even if choose to buy boned salmon.

We buy grass fed beef 4 or 5 pounds at a time when it goes on sale. So a pound of beef gets doled out for two more meals. I finish the week’s dinners with a vegetarian meal. 2 beef, 3 chicken, 1 fish and 1 veg. Lunches are turkey hot dogs with heavy vegetable sides alternated with leftovers from dinner. It amazes me how many leftovers we have as you’d think one chicken divided by 3 would be a small dinner. Our secret is all the fresh produce we eat that stretches our meals. Other families do with this by also adding potatoes, rice, bread and/or pasta.

A rotisserie chicken from Costco is $4.99 and we buy grass fed beef on sale for $4.99 a pound or less. One can of salmon is less than $2 and it makes a huge meal for us. We also use about 3 dozen eggs a week (when you can’t have cereal, bread or potatoes at breakfast, you eat eggs). I buy Applegate turkey hot dogs when they go on sale for $5 or less (usually way less). Adding all our protein for the week is $25 or less. That leaves $75 for veggies, green apples, olive oil, organic butter and anything else we need to round out our meals. Since we buy organic produce whenever we can, we start by checking to see what’s in season. That helps us get the best prices for local food at its peak freshness.

If I’m faithful to plan meals, shop the sales and clean out our fridge daily in order to use up the leftovers, we stay under budget. It’s worth it to me to have that extra to use to get a power up for our Money Game fund at least a few times a month.

Level Completed: 136 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $68.911
Total Balance: $3,829.41
Our Money Game fund has increased 21.7% so far this month.

$169.15 is needed to reach the next level.

Have fun, grow money and level up!

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