School year meal planning is much easier than summer-time meal planning. Time constraints mean grocery shopping only once a week, and in the summer I tend to be lackadaisical about planning, shopping, and most everything else that involves tending the home. Stopping to pick up dinner items whenever I need them usually involves buying more than I need, spending more money than I should. Especially now, with my hours cut and furlough days, I really need to be more conscious of what I'm spending in all areas, not just the grocery store. We regularly shop at Winco, the farmer's market, Costco, and watch the ads for Raley's. Convenience foods are, well, convenient. But generally speaking they are not that great for you and cost much more. Plus, the taste is not quite there. This is where meal planning becomes essential.