Whew! It’s been months since I created a monthly meal plan – but it’s so worth it!
Okay, so it may not be that pretty, but it gets the job done. I love the look of a well laid out menu planning sheet with cute decorations; I just can’t always justify using them when notebook paper and my planner work just as well.
Okay. So, in reality, I came up with a mostly monthly meal plan. I created a weekly meal plan for the first week, but decided to go ahead and finish off the rest of the month last weekend. Once it’s all said and done, I prefer to create a monthly meal plan over any other.
Pros and Cons of the Monthly Meal Plan:
- It only has to be done once a month
- I can save more money by shopping for the majority of my ingredients in one day vs going to the store each week
- I know what to make for dinner each night, so I’m not staring at the fridge and pantry at 4PM
- I don’t have to worry about going to the store each week for all my ingredients – we may go up to once a week if we need more perishable items
- Provides an opportunity to clean out the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator
- It takes me about 4 hours to come up with my meal plan due to interruptions and my distractable brain (this is very specific to me)
- It takes me about 3 hours to shop each month
How I come up with my monthly meal plan:
- I start by shopping my pantry, fridge, and freezer. If you follow me on facebook, you might remember that I was cleaning out the pantry and the freezer. Along the way, I was also taking inventory of what we already had.
- Depending on what’s available in my home, I’m able to start putting together meals by taking into account our family favorites and anything new I may want to try.
- Then I start shopping the sales at our local stores, by looking through the online ads. I can end up going to three or four different stores by the end of the day for the best prices and specialty items.
- #2 and #3 really help me save money, especially on big ticket items. I’m also working on putting together a price book so I can compare the prices for equivalent items at the various stores. I already have an idea of what to get where, but this will help me out even further and allow me to save a little more.
- Once I know what I have and the deals, I can finish out my menu. I may throw in a few cheat meals, easy meals – spaghetti usually happens about once a week, and I’ll also continue to put in family favorites or new recipes I want to try. These get put into the planner for easy reference or on a sheet on the fridge.
- Once I have my menu, I’ll create my list of all of the items that we need to buy. I’ll also include miscellaneous items such as toilet paper, and note which store I need to buy each item at.
- Finally, I’ll go to the stores and get everything while my wonderful hubby stays home with the kids. …I may or may not use it as an excuse to get out of the house alone. Hehehe
It feels so good to start to get back into the swing of things. I love the look and feel of a full pantry, and am so looking forward to when most of my pantry and freezer are stocked with produce and meat from our own land!
Until next time!