Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Menu Planning

If you read other blogs like this one who share about homemaking, crafts, coupons, etc, then you've probably seen "Menu Plan Monday." These bloggy moms post their menu for the week every Monday to give other moms ideas for their own menus. I love really helps me to keep variety in my menus and not cook the same meals every week. This is the first week I've been back to menu planning since the baby was born. We had so much help the first couple of weeks and so many meals were provided for us, that I didn't have to do any planning. It was nice..but I'm glad to be back at it again. If you don't plan menus for a week or two at a time, I challenge you to give it a try. Just one week. And see if it helps you save time and money. I didn't do it for the longest time and was so amazed at how much easier it made things once I started. 

Here are the reasons I love it:
  • When you have a meal planned for each night of the week, it allows you to have a specific grocery list. Your list will include all the ingredients needed for each meal if you don't already have them. This prevents you from just strolling the aisles and buying random things. In my case, I feel that I cook a bit more healthy bc I'm not just buying boxed meals that I see on the shelf bc I think I "might" cook this sometime, but instead only buy what I need. 
  • Having the grocery list of ingredients saves time and money at the grocery store for sure!
  • Knowing what I'm going to cook each night saves me time each day. I don't have to spend time checking to see what I have in the pantry to figure out a meal. I check my menu on the fridge and if I need to thaw out meat, I can take it out in plenty of time. It really makes things so easy!
  • If you have a meal planned for every evening, you WON'T eat out! If I don't have something planned, I look up after a long day with the kids and its 6pm and I have nothing ready to cook. So I call Matt and he picks something up. Every once in a while, that's ok for our budget. But not on a normal basis. Having a menu eliminates those times. 
So here's my menu for the remainder of this week and next week.

Wednesday: Homemade Chicken Nuggets and Hashbrown Potatoes (2 recipes from Kirby)
Thursday: Italian Pie
Friday: Dinner at a friend's birthday party
Saturday: Matt's bday dinner

Aug 16-22
Sunday: Dinner w/ friends
Monday: Enchiladas
Tuesday: Garlic Cheddar Chicken, Corn and Green Beans
Wednesday: Homemade pizza before church
Thursday: Dinner at a friend's bday party
Friday: Out of Town
Saturday: Out of Town

I don't know if this blog is going to do "Menu Plan Monday"..LA and I haven't discussed it. We may not want to make a commitment yet to always posting our menus on Mondays..but maybe we will. We'll see. But in the meantime, give the menu a try! And let us know how it turns out for you! If you already make a menu each week, how well does it work for you? What method do you use? 


brent, leighann & cole said...

I LOVE menu you planning. It gives my grocery shopping trips actual purpose. Before I started menu planning, I would go the store buy my "normal" items but then get home and wonder what I just bought because I would not be able to make any meals. I did not use coupons. I spent entirely too much money.

Once I started menu planning, I saw a huge difference. We didn't eat out as often and we had more room in our budget. Then coupons came into play and there was even more savings. If you do not use coupons now, then I would suggest you start with planning a menu. Start that first, see if it works for you, and then work on coordinating it with coupons. Take steps not leaps. This is definitely a process. It will take time, but once you have done it a couple of times it gets faster and easy and then actually saves you time and money.

In July, I decided to plan my menu for the month and go on a BIG shopping trip. I still go weekly for my fresh items or items we happen to run out of quicker then expected, but I really liked it, so I did it again in August. If you would like to know more about this, then maybe I will do a post about it. Let me know.

larra said...

Yes! Do a post about your BIG stock up grocery trip. We want to know what you did!