Thursday, May 3, 2012

Monthly Menus

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. 
I have been doing a menu for the past three months and it really is a great idea for us because when we go shopping, we go bulk shopping and can now know exactly what to buy. We don't have access to a lot of different groceries here and so we try to buy everything we need all in one big trip to the city.

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.
That is what I have learned so far from this experiment. We have saved quite a bit of money because I know what to buy at the store and I know what I am going to make and when.

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!

1 comment:

Julie said...

I'm late reading your blog. But this is so true. When the kids were young and life was sooo busy because I had forty directions to go instead of just a few. I found in day timer catalog a packages of sheets to help plan meals and help with shopping. I would plan meals and like you said you didn't have to cook the meal you had planned for that day.. but it is on the menus for days to come. Same with the leftovers worked for lunches or I would have one night a week or on the weekend we would have leftover meal. Worked well. Very good habit to have. I was thinking I needed to get back in planning our meals. I kind of do my head but actually write it. The huge thing to help with grocery bill is shop by a list and stick to it. I know that is hard when you have "big kids" that sneak stuff into the cart. I have one of those at my house.