Day to Day Adventures

Menu Planning—for a month

Kim2 Comments

Some days I really don’t like the weather man.  Nothing personal but in the winter he hardly ever has good news.

Ice?  Snow?  Frigid temperatures?

See what I mean? 

The forecast is keeping me seriously homebound.

One REALLY amazing thing is that I don’t need to make a run to the grocery store!  Yesterday hubby & I hit Hy-vee to pick up some on sale items but we didn’t NEED any of them.  About a month ago, Elizabeth & I sat down & planned a month’s worth of meals.  She was going to be cooking the majority of the meals so I wanted her input & for her to see the process that I use to do this.

How to plan for a month

1.  Check the pantry & freezer—first I had her go through & make a list of what we had.  Those items need to be used first, if possible.

2.  Print a calendar or if you like Excel there are some great templates at Vertex42.  I use the 2 week menu planner because I plan all 3 meals each day.  You have to when you are home all day with hungry children!

3.  Decide on a plan.  Are you going to use up all the old meals first?  Do you want the same kind of meal on a specific day of the week?(ie Mexican Monday, Crockpot Tuesday etc) I knew we were going to have meals brought to us for about a week this month so I didn’t plan those days.  Then I looked at what kinds of meat we had on hand.  Lots of chicken, some pork & hamburger.  I try not to over load any one week with too much a single kind of meat.

4.  Fill in the blanks.  Don’t feel like you need 30 different breakfast, lunches or suppers.  I repeat lots!  In fact this month I made a two week menu plan and just repeated it.  Easy peasy.

5.  Make a grocery list.  Look at what you have & what you still need to put on your list.  Don’t forget stuff like chips, sour cream, etc.  The sides are important too so add what might be good with your meals.

6.  Clean out the frig & do a quick organize of your pantry.   It makes life easier when you bring home all those groceries!

7.  Go to the store(s).  Take a snack, drink & a list.  This can be a big job—go prepared.

8.  Relax a bit.  Isn’t a great feeling that you won’t have to make a grocery store trip for much?  Steve is so good about picking things up for me.  We’ve had to pick up fresh fruit, milk, eggs & things like that but NO major parts of the meals. 

This is seriously saving us some $.  We normally spend around $600 for our family of 6.  So far for the month I am $150 under budget and we have a TON of food in the freezer/pantry still.  One of my goals is to shrink our grocery bill.  I have been using coupons but not lately for various reasons.  I may need to go back to planning/shopping for a month at a time for a while & see if it helps me reach my goal more than coupons did.

We did have meals brought in for a week so that affects things.  I would say about $75-80 worth of the amount I spent was in stocking up.  I bought $60 worth of chicken for batch cooking that will last us for several months.  I also was cooking college food for my oldest that will last for a couple of months.  He loves being able to pull a meal out of the freezer rather than going over to the dorm for a meal.  Overall I am super pleased with this months outcome on the grocery budget!