A few months ago I started talking with a friend about food, menus, planning meals, and an overall grocery budget. Granted it's only myself and my husband to feed but our schedules are so different and random that I thought having a plan would help.
My friend showed me how she printed off a monthly menu each month and filled a meal each day she knew she would have to cook for her family.
The idea of a monthly menu is to keep to a grocery budget and have an organized way of planning meals without last minute panic dinners.
With a menu you:
- Don't buy everything in the store and not use some of it because you aren't sure what to do with it.
- Overspend on things you probably don't need.
- Can be prepared the previous day before and meal and thaw out meat, make things in advance etc.
Here is what I have discovered:
- You will probably never follow your menu just like you first write it down-but that's ok just switch a day.
- You can be more creative with food because you have time to prepare-I have tried many different things outside of the typical.
- Allow a couple of easy typical meals because things always happen when you just need a quick meal.
- If you are going to eat out one night or have a meal every Sunday with your family-write it down. That way you know what is going on and can see it all in front of you on the calendar.
- Stick to dinners and if you are a leftover person plan for leftovers- make a big meal one night and use it for lunch the next day or a part of it for dinner. Chance and I usually make enough food one night that will last us a couple of days so I usually write a meal down for every other day. I'm sure this will all change if we have children some day but it works for now.
Here is a link to where I print off my free monthly calendars: Free printable calendars
Once you go to the site there is a list of the months and you just click on the one you want and print it off.
Also, there are a lot of sites that make you pay for such things and plan out menus for you but I would think you would always have to tweak it anyway and might as well get creative for free!