On my death bed, as I list out the regrets in my life, I will write “Should’ve Started Menu Planning Earlier.” I kid you not. One of the best budgeting and time saving tools is menu planning and please don’t complicate it. It takes five minutes, tops. A paper and pencil will do. Level one menu planning looks something like this:
Tues – lentil soup & bread
Wed – steak, potato, side salad
Thurs – leftovers
Fri – pizza (something easy at the end of a long week)
Sat– salmon, rice, broccoli
Sun– crockpot chili, cornbread, steamed spinach
Stick this on the refrigerator so everyone can see it and admire it for the intricate artistry.
The basic rule of thumb is to include a protein, starch and vegetable in each meal. Nowadays, the veggie is supposed to take up half the plate, the protein and starch should be palm-sized for portion control.
When you get comfortable with level one, you move to level two.
Check the weather for the week
and write it down by each day, so you’re not making creamy broccoli and cheese potato soup when it’s 95 degrees out.
Quickly scan your cupboards and refrigerator
to see what items you already have. Use them in your menu plan. Allrecipes.com lets you search a recipe by ingredient. Use the rest of the missing ingredients for your grocery list (Please tell me you’re using a grocery list to shop because otherwise I guarantee you are wasting money if you do not use a list. Also, eat first. Before you go grocery shopping, I mean. And keep your grocery list on your phone so that you always have it. Are you at information overload? Then go back to level one at the top of this blog post and stay there.).
Glance at your schedule
for the week. Your teenager has a basketball game on Wednesday? Leftovers, a made-before-the-game crockpot recipe, microwaveable frozen dinner, or fast food run it is, then!
Quickly look through those annoying grocery sale flyers
you get in the mail each week. Pork chops on sale? Mild weather forecast for Sunday? Fire up the grill!
Buy enough food for the whole week
so that you’re not having to run back to the grocery store multiple times.
Let your cupboards and pantry get bare
before grocery shopping. It’s odd looking and uncomfortable, but it’s the only way I’ve found that my family will eat whatever is left. In other words, they will not eat the carrots and celery if chips and dip are available. Savvy?
Okay, that’s probably enough. You know me, I have more info and tidbits but I’ll save those for another day. I hope this makes your life better. It has mine. Please let me know how it goes!