Sunday, November 20, 2011

Menu Planning

It has taken awhile to tweak things, but I finally feel like I have a good system for meal planning and grocery shopping that works well for us. I thought I'd share it with you!

We go grocery shopping twice a month for our main groceries and may occasionally stop to get a few extra groceries for a dinner with friends or if C runs out of something. This has saved me so much time! When we first got married I tried to shop less frequently, but it seemed like I always ended going to the grocery store a couple times a week.  

My System:

Between trips I try to take stock of things and write down items we are running low on on a master list so I don't forget. If I use the last of the granulated sugar to make cookies, I write it down. Notice toothpaste getting low? Goes on the list. I just love when I do a huge shopping run and get home to discover I forgot toothpaste and butter. You know you've done it too! :)

I go to several stores; Aldi, Fare-way, and Wal-Mart. Aldi is the cheapest place to buy groceries, hands down. You save at least 40% off name brand items. I get a lot of basics there, kleenex, toilet paper, butter, eggs, salad dressings, olives, sugar, frozen chicken breast, juice, cooking oil,etc...

I buy most of my produce, some meat, and a few more specialty items like wheat pasta at Fare-way.  I get things like lotion, shaving cream, and artisan breads (when I buy them.) at Wal-Mart. It takes a little more time to go to several stores, but the savings is worth it. We spend about $320 a month on groceries for our family. That includes diapers and other supplies like shaving gel, lotion, paper products, etc...

We also have been able to save money on our grocery bill by doing the Body by Vi 90 day challenge.
We take a meal replacement nutrition shake for breakfast that only costs $1.87. You can save even more with their 3 for free program; refer three, your product is free. By doing this we basically get all our breakfast groceries for free. You can learn more at our blog

Another way to save money is to plan meals ahead of time.
My mother taught me this. Thanks, Mom!

Every two weeks before I go shopping I sit down with my recipe box to make a list. I write down the names of each of the three stores. I pick a recipe and then write down the name at the top of my sheet. 

This time the meals I picked were tacos, spaghetti and salad, hamburgers and fries, bean bake, etc...

Then I add all the needed ingredients under the appropriate store. Here's an example of tacos:

I go through and do that for each meal. It actually only takes about 15 minutes. I also add fruit and other healthy snacks like nuts, fruit leathers, and granola bars. I usually plan a few things for lunches too like quesadilla ingredients, and sandwich or salad stuff.

I usually plan for 8 supper type meals for two weeks. That gives us some leeway if we go to our parents or have leftovers to eat up.

I write down the meals I buy ingredients for on our calendar and cross them off as we make them. If I'm in  a hurry I pick a meal that doesn't take long to prep.

So there you have it! My method for meal planning.

Do you have a grocery shopping/ meal planning tip to share?
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1 comment:

  1. Good job on the planning! I used to be so good at planning meals around sales and I could almost shop down to the dollar. I pretty much did it like you do. Now we are having to work around special diets... that's what we get for getting old! :)