How many times have you looked at the clock and it’s already 5 o’clock and you think…OMG, what is for dinner? You scan the freezer and all you see is FROZEN meat. Nothing is thawed out and the baby is crying and your kids are asking you “Mom, what’s for dinner”. HELP! I’ve been there…wayy to many times. So about 6 months ago, I got smart and started creating a menu plan..and guess what? It’s helped tremendously with organizing our meals, plus it helped us stretch out food budget even more.
Below you will find a step-by-step guide to creating a menu plan that works for your family and your budget.
1. Make a List of Meals: The first thing you are going to want to do is sit down with your family and make a list of all the meals they enjoy. When I did this with my family, I was very surprised to see the entire list of meals we like, because it always feels like we are making the same thing week after week! (Estimated time 10 minutes)
2. Create your Menu: There are a few ways you can make a menu, depending on how organized you want to be and how much time you have to shop, etc. Here are 3 different (and totally do-able) menu-planning strategies to help you save your sanity: (Estimated time 10 – 20 minutes)
- Weekly Monthly Planning – This is great if you are just starting off and want to go week by week. Take a quick look at the sales flyer and see which meats are on sale. If you spot chicken breast on sale for $1.99 or less, you know that’s a stock up price..prepare to have several chicken meals that week! Same goes for fresh produce. Planning your meals around what is on sale versus what you feel like having, will save you money.
- Monthly Menu Planning – Planning a menu on a monthly basis is a great idea if you have a large stockpile or belong to a warehouse club. You can sit down with a monthly calendar and write in all of the meals your family would like to eat. Then create a shopping list based on the items you’ll need to complete the menu. This method not only saves you money, but it also saves you time in shopping.
- Somewhere in between – I find myself doing a combination of both the Monthly & Weekly planning. I tend to organize my meals according to my stockpile items and then add in the sides on a weekly basis. For example, If I see that my grocery store is having a good deal on carrots and brussels sprouts, I will add that into my meals for that week.
Because I love you guys so much and I want you to get started right away, I’ve included a FREE printable Menu sheet for you to use when planning your menu. If you find this article helpful, please share it with your friends! :)