Wednesday, October 3, 2012
31 Days:: Menu-planning, Part One
[Find Part Two of this article here.]
Good Morning! Do you know what you're having for supper tonight? Menu-planning (or meal-planning, as some call it) is foundational when it comes to saving money in the kitchen.
How does menu-planning help you save money?
1. You won't experience the 5PM panic of "What's for dinner?" and hop in your van to pick up a pizza. Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out.
2. Having a plan means that you can make a grocery list instead of grabbing random things off the shelf. Shopping with a list is always cheaper than shopping on the fly.
3. Planning out your dinners means that you (hopefully) won't make extra trips to the store for random ingredients. You're saving gas, time, and money...because you know you won't just pick up those "missing" ingredients at the store. You'll also notice that Oreos are on sale, and so are those crescent rolls that you're pretty sure you can use soon.
At the minimum, take the time to plan your biggest meal. (In our house, it's supper.) If you're really ambitious, you can add breakfast, lunch, and snacks to your menu plan. You can write the meals on your calendar, your weekly dry-erase calendar, or a separate piece of paper. (Type "free menu plan printable" into your search engine and you'll find all sorts of cutesy templates!) You could even do your menu-planning on Pinterest! Just create a separate board and title it "Meal Plan" or "Dinner Week 1". When you pin or repin a recipe, label it with what day you plan to use it.
To save even more money on your food bill, keep in mind the following tips when planning your menu:
1. The cheapest places to shop are your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
2. Plan your meals around what's on sale (my favorite way to meal-plan, in case you didn't know!).
3. Plan two-fers.
For a more thorough explanation of those tips, head over to Money Saving Mom, where I expanded on those thoughts in my guest article.
So, now that I've (hopefully) convinced you to meal-plan, are you staring at a blank piece of paper wondering where to start? Come back tomorrow for some meal-planning inspiration!
Do you menu-plan? Do you think it saves you time and money? What's your method?
[To my email subscribers: If you'd like to join the conversation this month, please click the title of any post in your email, and you'll land on the blog itself. Scroll to the bottom of the article to see comments and add your own.]
Looking for more ways to Save Money in the Kitchen? Check out the first few articles in this series, and come back every day this month for fresh ideas!