1 Thing That Will Transform Your Week
When my husband and I got married 2 ½ years ago, we had already talked through just about every big topic you can think of: kids, sex, money, faith, etc. But once we were actually living under the same roof and learning to work as a team every day, it became apparent that some of the smaller, everyday life things, like what day we would do laundry or who’s making dinner tonight, still needed to be worked out.
One of those everyday things was meal planning.
At the start of our marriage, we realized that between work, school, hanging out together, and hanging out with other people, what we would eat for dinner during the week was an afterthought. This led to us eating out several times a week because we were both spent by the time we got home at night, too tired to put thought into planning and preparing a meal on the spot.
Three months into our marriage we weren’t saving as much as we had hoped to, and we weren’t eating as healthy as we wanted. We decided to take a closer look at our habits and our budget, starting with groceries and eating out.
We were in shock and awe at the amount we were spending in these areas!
We knew moving forward that we wanted our #1 financial goal to be saving money, but our food costs alone were standing in the way of that. So that night, at our dining room table surrounded by our laptops, calculators, and notebook paper, we decided to set our food budget at a third of what we were currently spending. It was drastic, but we both wanted the challenge of seeing if we could do it. This would be for groceries only, and we established another budget for eating out 1-2 times per month.
I knew that in order to get the most out of our grocery budget each week, we needed to be organized and know what we were eating each night.
To help in the meal planning process, and also to communicate about any other events we had going on each week, I turned a very normal household item into something that completely, almost magically transformed the feeling and flow of our weeks. Can you guess what it was?…
A picture frame.
You might be thinking, “What does a picture frame have to do with meal planning?”
Let me show you.
I had purchased this frame from Michaels about a year before we got married to use as a dry erase board for my desk. Now we call it our Weekly Menu Board. I love the color and texture of the frame, and the size is not too big and not too small, just right for any space.
To create the solid white background behind the glass, I simply took the cardboard backing off and slid a piece of cardstock in (a sheet of printer paper works, too). I then replaced the cardboard backing. I prop the Menu Board up on a simple picture stand that I also purchased from Michaels.
I use normal dry erase markers to write on the glass, and I’ve found that a damp paper towel works better than an eraser to wipe the writing away. I keep the Menu Board displayed on the counter in a corner of our kitchen, a spot that is visible from anywhere you stand in the room.
When I tell you this little thing has completely transformed our weeks, I promise it’s not an overstatement!
On Saturday or Sunday, when I’m done meal planning and writing out our grocery list, I’ll transfer the meals to the Menu Board. Next to each meal, I write in parentheses any events that we have going on that week, from Bible study to my rehearsals to date night and who’s planning it that week. Even though my husband and I also communicate about our schedules on Sundays, the Menu Board allows us to have that communication written down for easy access in case we forget or aren’t able to ask the other person on the spot.
It also allows us to see our week at a glance in a fun and organized way, and we know quickly which meals we will need to prep ahead or what nights we are having leftovers.
For such a small upfront investment (frame + stand = $20 ish), our menu board has added so much time saving value to our everyday routine! We are intentionally saving money, eating healthier, on the same page about meals and schedules, and more organized for the week ahead.
If you try this idea out for yourself, let me know how it goes! And if you have 1 thing you do that transforms your week, please share it below!