When I make my meals, another step for me is to figure out how much they will cost. Certain meals are special meals in this house because they take too much from our budget to eat them on a regular basis. So we'll eat those meals on a Sunday or a birthday or something.
Usually I figure out how much we're budgeting for food. For a somewhat easy number let's say we are budgeting $400 for food and groceries. Usually I will take about $100 of that and stash it for ziploc bags, spices, and oil - stuff that doesn't really calculate into the meal.
So we have $300 left - which leaves us with about $10 a day. Then I break that down. For breakfast say, I need $3, and $2 for snacks, then I have $5 for a supper meal with the leftovers for lunch. On the backs of my cards, I write the main ingredients and then approximate prices and totals. This way I can determine if it works for our family to use this meal on a regular basis.
This helps me, when I keep it in mind, to maintain my budget. There are months or days when I want to throw it all in and just do what I want. That usually means I have to cut somewhere else, or that next month will be super tight. So the discipline of making sure we are within budget is worthwhile to me.
Making the most of today,