Monday, October 22, 2012

Saving Time & Money with Meal Planning

It seems as if I’m on a perpetual mission for organization in my house. I am always looking for efficient ways to simplify the inner workings of our household. For instance, I assign certain loads of laundry to certain days. Also, Big A cleans her room every single Monday. She knows when she gets home from school that after her homework is finished, it’s time to clean her room. This way we avoid arguing and whining and fussing because it’s not a surprise. One of the more recent things that I’ve done is created a Family Organization Notebook.
Please, don’t mind the big black square.
Our last name is under there.

...and evidently I’m just a regular Dr. Seuss.

This notebook is home to emergency phone numbers, babysitter information sheets, school calendars, monthly cleaning checklists, weekly cleaning checklists, monthly calendars for the entire year ahead, birthday lists, and my six-week rotating menu. YES! I said SIX-WEEK menu. This particular gem has been a lifesaver for me!

I was getting tired of buying and cooking the same meals over and over every two weeks. I wanted to add some variety, so I hopped over to Pinterest and looked at my Recipe board. I had pinned lots of recipes that we had yet to try, so I added a few to my new list. I compiled a list of about 30-35 meals, and put them in groups of fourteen. It took me about an hour to do this, as I didn’t want to have 3 Italian meals all grouped together, or tacos and fajitas in the same week, etc... I also tried to spread out the meals that tend to be more expensive so I could spread out the cost instead of having a really expensive menu one week, and a cheaper one the next.

After my meals were assigned to one of my three menus (remember, I shop for 2 weeks at a time), I created a list of items that I purchase on EVERY trip to the grocery store. For us, that’s things like flour, sugar, yeast, toilet paper, cereal, etc...

Then, I went back to the menus I had created and went through meal by meal to create a list. Every single ingredient for every meal was written down. I put tally marks next to the items I needed more than one of. When my rough draft is finished, I go to Microsoft Word and type up a list, complete with check boxes and blank spaces to add other items. Usually I have my grocery lists in order according to where things are located in the store, but my local Kroger has recently undergone some changes and now I’m lost when I go in there, so I’m re-learning the location of everything.

I don’t plan breakfast and lunch in detail like I do dinner. I usually just buy the same things for breakfast. We eat cereal, oatmeal, toast, eggs, or pancakes. For lunch it’s just me, Middle A & Little A at home, so we just eat leftovers, or make grilled cheese or PB&J’s. I keep it pretty simple. My shopping list covers anything I need for that. I normally only have to  go back to the store for milk after my initial shopping trip.


So you can get a better idea of what I’m doing, here are the meals I planned for menu rotation 3:

Spaghetti, Salad, Applesauce

Pulled Pork BBQ, Baked Beans, Corn on the Cob

Italian Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Cooked Carrots

French Toast, Eggs, Sausage

Potato Soup

Pizza x2 (We make homemade pizza every friday night.)

Chicken & Dumplings (crock pot recipe)

Seasoned Chicken, Potatoes, Broccoli & Cheese, Coooked Carrots

Ziti, Salad, Applesauce

Scalloped Potatoes & Ham

Savory Pepper Steak & Rice (Crock pot recipe from my Recipes Board on Pinterest).

Meat Loaf, Potatoes, Green Beans, Corn on the Cob

Beef Tacos (there are no tortillas on the shopping list because I make them homemade,  also found on my Recipes Board on Pinterest)

Here’s a screenshot of my third grocery list:

Feel free to follow the link below to view or print it.

I wanted to share this little gem with you guys because people are always asking me how I feed our family of 5 for under $500 a month. This is how. Planning. Each of my lists costs me between $150-$200 at Kroger. Even less when there’s a good sale. 

I would be more than happy to share the rest of my menus and shopping lists if you like. Let me know in the comments below if you’re interested.

I would also love to hear how you save money on your grocery bill, as well as your favorite recipes! 

Happy Menu Planning!


Sage said...

This is AMAZING. I was just telling G this morning that the only way I can stay on budget at the grocery store is to plan a menu & make a shopping list.

Amanda said...

Absolutely! For me, with planning 6 weeks, it’s a big enough rotation so we don’t get too tired of eating the same things too close together. Plus, when it’s grocery shopping time, I just pick which rotation list we’re on, print it, and go! (Right after I grab my reusable shopping bags, of course!)

Post a Comment

What do you think?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Template by