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January 28, 2022

Plan your meals for a year, save half your grocery bill

I never understood how moms handle the whole dinner thing.

I come from a family of seven and, even if you were to assess the food situation that morning, planning a meal for five kids each night seems like a staggering task.

Of course, there was my mother – the week’s dinners mapped out in her head every Monday – charging along, doing her best to buy in bulk and think ahead. For the money, that is. With a family of that magnitude, you either plan or you break the bank.

What I’m telling you is no secret, surely. Families have been keeping an eye on sale dates and bulk prices and thinking to the future for centuries. You do it. I do it. It’s how smart consumerism is done.

But if you think you’re somewhat of an expert on the issue, could you do this? Could you handle planning an entire year’s worth of meals in advance?

A Texas family is making the media rounds these days after doing just so, boasting that the group cut their annual grocery expenses by more than half with the ambitious strategy.

The Chisolm family pulled off the feat by doing the extreme – buying in massive bulk, showing Zen-like patience for sales – but the lessons they pass along can still be useful for the more, um, sane among us.

Leslie, the Chisholm matriarch, told ABC News she devised the plan after noticing the family was doing a lot of compulsive shopping, food wasting and eating out.

She combated that by making a list (picking out a meat, side and vegetable for a rounded meal) and multiplying that by a little less than 365, with days built in for leftovers.

Leslie’s advice: stockpile meat and vegetables, especially. “Put it (in) baggies,” she says. “Label it” and stack it in your freezer.

“It makes my life easier because it’s one less thing that I have to worry about because it’s already written down,” she continues.

Check out the Chisolm meal plan for the entire year here. Anyone out there even remotely as cash conscious/crazy as Leslie?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...