Last year my husband and I held our first annual financial meeting. Some of our discussions revolved around large goals and dreams, like saving for retirement and pursuing our passions. But we also discussed smaller goals and aspirations. Out of the discussions came a very simple financial resolution… to cook five meals at home each week. My husband and I don’t have any children, which provides us with the luxury of waking up a little bit later for work. Of course, starting work later also results in leaving work later, so up until this year we spent a good deal of money picking up dinner on our way home from work.
Last year among our grand resolutions we created this very simple resolution to prepare more meals at home. I am happy to say that we have actually exceeded this goal. We usually cook between 4 to 5 dinners a week and the other two days we may resort to Pasta-Roni or grilled cheese sandwiches, but we are rarely forced to pick up food for dinner. In fact, we’ve even found ways to make our daily dinners even easier to prepare.
At a recent trip to Costco we were able to buy 16 chicken breasts for $14.74 to $16.14 a package. Broken down that’s only $.95 – $1.01 per chicken breast. In addition, I purchase bottled marinade at the grocery store whenever it goes on sale. You can find 2 for $4.00 sales about once a month. But even when it’s not on sale you can purchase marinade for $2.79 a bottle. When we get the chicken home we thinly slice it, place it in plastic bags, and add 1/3 to 1/2 of a bottle of marinade. Right after dinner we take a bag of chicken out of the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw for the next night. Then when we get home we cook the chicken on the grill or stove top. At this point the chicken has had more than ample time to marinade. We make a quick salad, (buying pre-cut veggies), and usually another side dish like potatoes or veggies. For less than $5.00 a person we can prepare a healthy dinner in about twenty minutes time.
In addition to marinating the chicken in advance I am also making a number of pre-made freezer meals each month. I spend one day a month making five to ten meals that can be frozen in advance, and thawed just prior to eating. In addition to helping us save money and eat heathier, dinnertime has also become much less hectic in our house.