So now that we are finally settled into our new home and know what our expenses are like, we decided to get back to our monthly meal planning which will help us track our food and lessen those “extras” that we tend to buy every time we go to the store.
**This is what works for us. You can customize this so it suits your needs and budget. This post is simply to suggest some ideas that might work for you and your family.
Our kids typically just enjoy cereal or Pop-Tarts for breakfast with the occasional pancakes or muffins on the weekends when I have time to cook a large breakfast. That’s why I have those listed at the bottom of the document. Lunches for the kids are either PB&J or pepperoni and cheese, with the occasional chocolate/coconut/almond butter (my own recipe) sandwich or Nutella sandwich or frozen pizza on the weekends. The “other” is there for other ideas that I might have for the month for any one of us in the family.
This document can also be used as the shopping list. Once we write down what we want for the month, we know what we need to purchase. We write the “extras” on the back such as condiments, flour, honey, etc. We can then choose which meal we want on certain nights. We tried this type of planning before where we planned the meals for specific nights and it didn’t work perfectly because there were some nights that we just weren’t hungry for what was on the menu. This way, we can choose what we want and when we want it. Once we prepare it, we cross it off.
We rarely have leftovers unless I make a large turkey, ham or make frozen casseroles. I have allotted only 2 times a month to have leftovers. Because I frequently prepare freezer meals, this menu planner would still work well. I simply write the name of the casserole in one of the blocks and just have to remove it from the freezer the day before I want to serve it.
We also enjoy eating out, whether it is in a restaurant or take-home, so I have planned for us to choose those types of meals once a week. Occasionally, on a weekend, we will eat a late breakfast and then have a slightly early dinner. This may save us a lunch for that weekend. No problem! We’ll just put that back on the menu for next month!
Our shopping plan is:
- Once a month, purchase what we need for all meals, as well as snacks.
- Once a month (on a different week than above), purchase meats for the month. (occasionally we will purchase enough pork from Sam’s club to last us 2-3 months or chicken from Zaycon to last us 3-4 months)
- Weekly, purchase milk, eggs, fresh veggies/fruits, and pepperoni/cheese from the deli.
- We stock up on other items when they are on sale and/or we have coupons and stick to the shopping list! This goes for toothpaste (which I haven’t purchased for 3 years due to stocking up very well), cleaning items, etc.
We’re not perfect. Sometimes I just want to make something I saw on Pinterest and we get the ingredients on an “off” week. However, this monthly meal planning keeps us from doing this impulse shopping so much more.
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