Menu Planning

I know there are a trillion blogs out there that have menu planning ideas, instructions, down loads and there is a good reason for that.  Menu planning is key to a frugal lifestyle.   You are probably already aware that the best area of your budget to save money is in the grocery column.  The best way to save money at the grocery store it to make a list of what you need and stick to it.  But in order to make the list of what you need, first you need to know what you and your family will be eating that week / month.  That brings us right back to menu planning.  Here is a download of my February menu plan.

February Menu Calendar

As you can see it’s just a simple excel spreadsheet listing each day’s dinners.  I don’t include lunches because that usually is either leftovers or a salad in a jar for us.  Weekday breakfast is usually something I make over the weekend like muffins, whole wheat waffles and /or boiled eggs that we eat on all week.  The main thing that helps me is a dinner menu, so I’m not stopping at the grocery store on the way home because everything I have is frozen.  Planning = savings.

I make my menu around what I have in stock.  The things we grow and  “put up” including fruits, vegetables, eggs, pork and the venison that the Z Man harvests.  That means that my grocery list is mostly made up of fresh veggies, milk, butter, flour, sugar…. the main staples of cooking.  I make a monthly menu and then I do one large monthly grocery purchase.  I buy all the things that will keep for the month without spoiling.  Once a month grocery shopping has saved us quite a bit.  Making a menu, making a list and sticking to the list, I have found is the best way for us to stay on budget with our grocery shopping.

It’s also important to include special dates in your monthly menu plan.  For example you’ll see that for Super Bowl Sunday I have seafood nachos and buffalo wings on the menu.  Both of those recipes I had to buy specific items for, so I put crab meat and wings on my shopping list.  It’s not about depriving yourself of good food or eating cheap food, it’s about planning so you know in advance what you can afford and there are no emergency shopping trips because I forgot to set out the whatever to thaw.  It’s just a little tool that keeps me on track, and one less thing I have to think about each day.  It also helps me with meal ideas, I can refer back to a menu or add a new recipe that I want to try.  How many of those do we see on FB every day?  Yep, it’s that simple, but such a big help.

So, what’s on your menu for dinner tonight?

Till Next Time,

Lori

4 thoughts on “Menu Planning

  1. Filet mignon. I was at the store getting a few items (list in hand), and I make a habit of checking the marked down meats and mark down bin. The bin has recently moved to another place in the store, and judging from the slim pickings there, more people see it now than before.

    Anyhow, I was in the meat section, and there was a beef tenderloin. Just over a pound, so that means four portions, with a $4.50 off sticker on it. I decided to go for it, as I had money in the grocery envelope to cover. I had already picked up some portabella mushrooms when I was in the produce section (thought I’d use it with the leftover roasted chicken I had) and realized they’d be a nice accompaniment to the tenderloin.

    I picked up salad stuff when it went on sale, so will have that as well, and I’m using up salad dressing that I bought earlier, also on sale, that needs to be used NOW.

    Funny thing is, I found myself having to tell myself it was okay to spend the money (it was in my grocery envelope) when the price per portion is less than it would have been had I gone for a fast food meal.

    1. That sounds so good. I love a good steak with mushrooms (and blue cheese 🙂 ), it’s one of my favorite meals. I often tell the Z Man that I want to raise a cow in the back yard just for the steaks. I always check the “marked down” bin for deals. Even if I can’t fix it that day, it goes in the freezer for future meals. Hope you enjoy your dinner tonight 🙂

      1. It was yummilicious! I cooked the two tenderloins a bit rarer than I like so I can reheat the leftovers without making them too well done. At the last minute, I opted just for the meat and a salad. Tonight’s supper will be reheated meat, mushrooms, and veggies.

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