Being a military family, payday is always the 1st and the 15th. However, if those dates fall on a weekend or a holiday, then the paydates shift to the weekday prior... If you bank with a few of the different military banks, then your money goes into the bank the day before payday. Normally, this isn't a problem.. but there's always a few months out of the year where this results in an extremely long stretch between two paydates.. The month of January is one of those months. Because of the MLK Day holiday on Monday (the 15th), payday moves up to the 12th.. Which means the banks paid everyone on the 11th, resulting in everyone making that paycheck stretch for 20 days, when we get finally get paid again.
20 days is a LONG time to have to plan meals out and I admit, if I was better at budgeting, I probably wouldn't need to plan that far out. But when it comes to these long stretches, there never seems to as much money as days and so I like to make sure I have food in my house for each and every date, just in case.
This also means that I need to create 20 meals pretty frugally as well as pay the bills, keep gas in the cars, ect with the same amount of money we typically go 12-14 days with. I'll be completely honest ... Healthy goes completely out the door and instead I worry about getting cheap foods that can fill everyone up. LOL
You'll notice that there's many dinners where rice is on the menu.. That's almost always my go-to staple for long stretches - a bag of rice will feed an army I tell ya. Also, meals with "salsa and chips" means that I'm buying a huge package of corn small tortillas (which I can get 40 for about 2 bucks), slicing them into triangles and baking them in the oven.
Our breakfasts and lunches tend to be a bit more on the cheap side as well - I'll be making lots of oatmeal, hot rice cereal (told you that rice goes a long way), porridge, and bannocks for breakfast for example. Lunches will consist of things like omelets, mac and cheese, homemade "lunchables" and canned pasta. (Sorry kids, no clams this pay check lol)
We are having one splurge and going out to eat tonight to Red Robin. This month is my birthday and so we get a free burger LOL There are a few "copycat" recipes on my list such as the McRib sandwiches and Jack in the Box Tacos - these are homemade versions of these fast food items. For example, the McRib is just cheap Banquet frozen pork riblets on a french style roll with extra BBQ sauce, onions and pickles.
Friday (1/12) - Red Robin - YUM!!
Saturday (1/13) - Skillet Pineapple BBQ chicken with Rice and Steamed Broccoli
Sunday (1/14) - Cheddar Cheese Soup with Pretzel Bread
Monday (1/15) - Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Tuesday (1/16) - Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy, Refried Beans and Rice, Chips and Salsa
Wednesday (1/17) - Pancit Bihon with Lumpia
Thursday (1/18) McRib Sandwiches with French Fries and Salad
Friday (1/19) - Greek Marinaded Chicken with Lemon Couscous Salad
Saturday (1/20) - Burgers with Mac and Cheese
Sunday (1/21) - Broccoli Cheddar Chicken with Green Beans, Fried Apples and Outback Rolls
Monday (1/22) - Grilled Cheese with Tomato/Basil soup
Tuesday (1/23) - Picadillo with Flour Tortillas
Wednesday (1/24) - Chili Dogs with Potato Salad and Chips
Thursday (1/25) - Baked potatoes with BBQ pulled pork and Field Peas
Friday (1/26) - Pork Ramen with Egg Roll
Saturday (1/27) - Meatball Sandwiches with Tots and Salad
Sunday (1/28) - Oven "Fried" chicken strips with sauce, potato salad, steamed broccoli and Texas toast.
Monday (1/29) - Chickpea Tikka Masala with Rice
Tuesday (1/30) - Jack in the Box Style Tacos with Steamed broccoli, chips and Salsa
Wednesday (1/31) - Orange Chicken with Rice and green beans
Well at least at the end of the 20 days, we'll still have eaten well ;)