Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days:: Menu-Planning, Part Two

Yesterday, I convinced you to start planning your meals, right?  Because menu-planning saves money, right?  So now that you're convinced (ha ha!), you're ready to sit down and start planning.  But sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Don't worry...there's not really a wrong way to do it!   Simply taking the time to plan your dinners is the first step towards saving money!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Plan one week at a time...or two weeks at a time...or a month at a time! Do what works for you.
2. Ask your family for ideas. Create a list of your family's 20 favorite meals, and when it's time to plan your menu, you can consult that list.
3. Assign a theme to each night, such as:

Sunday - roast dinner
Monday - burgers or brats
Tuesday - three-part-meal (chicken/pork/beef plus two sides)
Wednesday - pasta
Thursday - Mexican
Friday - pizza
Saturday - leftover buffet


Sunday - grilled sandwiches using leftovers from previous week
Monday - soup/chili
Tuesday - something for the grill
Wednesday - something in the crockpot
Thursday - a new recipe
Friday - a family favorite
Saturday - breakfast for supper
4. Create a list of every meal/recipe you can think of, and just start plugging meals into the calendar. Recycle that list every month (or every other month, depending on how many dinners you came up with).
5.  Plan each meal based around a sale item or combination of items that are on sale.  (In case you were wondering, I like this idea.)

Choosing any one of the above ideas, or a combination of some of them, will put you on the path to saving money in the kitchen. It all starts with a plan! 

Do your best to stick to your plan. It helps if you plan your meals around your family's activities (a crockpot meal if you'll be gone all day, a quick-clean-up meal if you have to run out the door right after supper). Try to stick to your plan, but don't stress about it! Life happens (and so do pop-up thunderstorms on the night you planned to grill), so it's OK to swap nights, carry over a meal to next week, or make grilled cheese if you had a crazy day. 

Now are you ready to start?  Get out your calligraphy pen and plan those gourmet meals on that cutesy piece of stationary! Just kidding. It doesn't have to be just has to work for you and your family!

What's your favorite way to menu-plan?  Do you plan your meals around what's on sale, or do your meals follow a theme?  Do you have a different way to meal-plan other than what's suggested here?

[Part One of this post can be found here.]

Looking for more ways to save money in the kitchen?  Check out the rest of the articles in this series thus far, and come back every day this month for more money-saving tips. 

1 comment:

  1. Your meal plan looks much the same like mine! Though I do not do it so well in the summer.... when the kids go back to school I go BACK to my weekly meal plan ~ it helps me feel more organized. As a side, I generally pick a cookie, a bar, a dessert, a fun breakfast, a snack mix and an Sunday night appetizer to go with each week. I may not make an appetizer or a bar one week, but just put it in the next weeks plans and *BONUS* I already have all the ingredients....maybe double check though in case you used something for something else!!! :) (I LOVE the theme idea....think I WILL borrow that for sure!!!! thanks!)