Why do we need a menu plan? Isn’t it too much trouble? I survived a few years scratching out grocery lists on the backs of napkins, walking the aisles looking for cooking inspiration and pulling supper out of the pantry on the fly. It was not exactly easy. I found myself eating out more, spending more money at the grocery store, and going to the store more often for forgotten items. Somewhere along the line, I learned the art of menu planning and it has been a life-saver for my family of five.
I began by just writing down what I wanted to eat for the week and making a grocery list for all the things I needed to make those meals. Then I bought a large wall calendar and mounted in on the fridge. I wrote the menu on the calendar in pencil in case I needed to move things around. My husband instantly liked the idea of being able to see what we were having in advance. I liked having a plan so I wasn’t scrambling around at 4:30 trying to come up with a dinner plan.
I have now morphed into a free excel document that I found online that I can type up and print out. It is a calendar grid with space to plan three meals and one snack a day for a month at a time. If you are new at this, I would recommend just planning for a week at a time to get your feet wet. There are some free downloadable forms over on Money Saving Mom. Here is the link. This menu planning habit has allowed me to have a flexible plan so the “what’s for dinner?” question is asked less often in our house. We save money by going to the store less often and sticking to the plan rather than eating out. My next post in this series will cover eating from your pantry to save money.
How does menu planning look in your home?