I told y’all that here at The Thrifty Groove, we are tightening our money belts and organizing is our keyword for 2012. Well, menu planning is a big factor in both these areas.
I have been a slacker in these past few months regarding menu planning. But, that has to change.
I know, many of you are digging your heels in and saying in your mind, “Noooo! I don’t wanna do meal planning!”. Unless you are a Foodie and cooking/baking is your favorite hobby, planning out meals is a chore. Right? And you are thinking that you have tried this before and things were going along just fine and then for whatever reason, you blow off the scheduled meal. So, you start thinking, “What’s the point?”.
Well guess what? That is totally normal. Life happens, things change all the time. But, there is a POINT. And the point is, that it will still save you time, money and stress. You don’t have to beat yourself if you do not follow your meal planning to the letter T. I rarely do. I may have Wednesday’s scheduled meal on Friday instead or I see that tonight’s meal is beef stroganoff and I think to myself, “I am just not in the mood for that right now” so, instead I make grilled cheese sandwiches.
Like I said, this is okay. What having a planned menu does is it frees up having to think about what to have for dinner. You know you already have all the things needed to make that meal. You don’t have to waste money running out to get things for dinner or run to a fast food restaurant. You can do some of the dinner prep work earlier in the day so you don’t have to do it all later. These are just some of the reasons meal planning works and helps.
I’m not going to give you my menu for the week in this post. This post is to offer up some tips that have helped me in the past. Because, let’s face it, the easier it is, the more likely we are to do it!
Here are some ideas that I try to do:
- Keep an organized pantry. Knowing what you have is half the battle
- Keep your pantry stocked with Loss Leaders and deep discounts and or coupons.
- Plan you meals around what you have on hand and what is on sale that week.
- Keep a list of what you and your family’s favorite meals are.
- Include some quick and easy meals. Every meal does NOT have to be a new recipe or a gourmet meal. Soup and sandwich nights are just fine.
- Get in a habit of creating a Master List of meals that you can refer to when planning your menu. You don’t always have to start from scratch each month.
- Try to cook one meal that can be turned into 2 meals. One for now, one for the freezer.
- Plan your leftovers.
- Have a C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Refrigerator Night)
- Have other members of your family add their ideas and let them cook one night.
To get you started, here is a great site that offers lots of free downloads (PDF) for menu planning.
Simple Organized Living
**Next week I will post some fun and easy ideas and tips on saving money and enjoy eating at home!