We've all been there....wandering around the grocery store thinking "What the heck am I going to make for dinner?" Not just dinner for that night, but the next and the next. Menu planning is still something that is a challenge for me, however the benefits to my pocket book keep me motivated. Often I'm not sure what we might feel like eating, or worse yet, I've created a menu plan and then my hubby says "I don't feel like that!"
The first thing I recommend is to keep track of meals that your family eats frequently (such as tacos on Wednesdays or pizza on Fridays) and to keep the supplies for those fav's on hand (and to buy extra of those items when they are on sale) in case whatever is on the list for that evening gets vetoed. If you currently don't do ANY menu planning start by pre-planning what meals/recipes you are going to have for a couple of days a week and build from there eventually creating a menu for every night of the week, lunches, breakfasts and even snacks. You may also want to sit with the flyers to find out what is on sale for the upcoming week and use this as a guide to get your menu started. This will give you a base list to work with when going to the grocery store and SHOPPING WITH A LIST WILL SAVE YOU A BUNDLE! It helps you from mindlessly putting things in the cart that you don't actually need, impulse purchasing, and having to make return trips to the store because you forgot certain items.
I estimate that menu planning saves me AT LEAST $10/week compared to not menu planning (probably FAR MORE).
$10/week x 52= $520 in saving a year
Here's an EXAMPLE menu plan for you:
Monday: Roasted chicken (on sale), potatoes and green beans
Tuesday: BBQ chicken pasta (made from the leftover roasted chicken
Thursday: BBQ Pork chops (on sale), baked potatos, grilled peppers (because we never use a whole pepper when we make tacos)
Saturday: Homemade Burgers and Pasta Salad
Sunday: Beef Kabobs and Rice
Total Savings Day 1+2+3= $632/year
***Today's assignment: Start to think about what meals your family eats a lot and what you need to have on hand to make them, take a glance in your pantry and see what you already have on hand. Start a LIST for your next shopping trip (we will continue to complete the list over the remainder of the week) Feel free to comment below with some of your own favourite meals, perhaps it will give others some ideas!