Meal planning is one of my favorite money saving strategies. Not only does is save money, but it makes grocery shopping and my day to day craziness a little less.
Knowing what I will be making for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on a daily basis, instead of contemplating and last minute runs to the grocery store, is a serious sanity saver. I love the fact that I can look at my menu the night before and know exactly what I will be making the next day.
Starting My Meal Planning
I make a rough draft of my menu by writing it out on a blank piece of paper. I usually plan for 2 weeks at a time.
I always start with dinner because I think it’s the hardest meal to plan. To start I usually use my Go To list of meals, but also like to look up new recipes. Pinterest is my favorite place to do this. I like variety on my menu so, I pick a few things from each of the categories on my Go To list and interchange them. Red meat one night, chicken the next. I also try to do 4 meatless meals in my 2 week time period. Going meatless is a money saver. You can read more about making a Go To list of meals here.
I repeat breakfast and lunch so I make a list of 4 or 5 items for each and just rotate them on my menu. Leftovers for lunch is also a money saver.
Snacks are also repeated, I choose 4 or 5 of them as well, but I do it in a way that allow my kids to pick what they want instead of it being set.
Dessert is fun, but I don’t really consider it necessary, so we only have it a few times per week. I’ll come up with 4 or 5 of these to put on my menu.
Putting the Menu Together
After I have come up with all of my meals I write them into my weekly menus. I order them in such a way that I feel is convenient for me.
I used to make my menus in a set day format. Meaning I made it so that we would have this meal on Sunday, that meal on Monday, and so on. But I found myself changing it around at least once in our 14 day period due to not feeling up to it or something just not sounding appetizing. To eliminate having to redo my menu I changed it to a checklist type format. I have it laid out in the way that I plan to prepare the meals, but have the ability to change it, without having to redo the entire menu. I simply check off what I have made. Here is a copy of my weekly menu planner.
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