Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Menu Planning

Being a family of six, with four growing boys, you can imagine the amount of money we spend on groceries! You can imagine... but I'd like to think your guess would be too high. Money management is my strong point when it comes to keeping house. I can feed this family, including the dog and all toiletries and paper products, for about $100 per week... usually less but sometimes more. The "more" usually happens when I don't organize.

When the grocery ads come in the mail, I usually flip straight to meat section. We like meat! LOL I'll note what's on sale and plan my menu around that. Sometimes I'll buy two or more of something and stick the extra in the freezer. I also like to check the loss leaders on the front page of the ads. These are extra good deals the stores offer to lure you in the door. Then, I'll check to see if there are any sales that match my coupons (a subject for a later post). After I make my menu for the week, I make a shopping list. I keep a master list on the computer with things we use every week; things like milk, bread, cereal, mac & cheese, vegies, produce, etc. I'll check my cabinets to see what I have and what I need. I mark through the list items that are already in the kitchen and add any sale items that aren't on the master list. When I shop, I shop the list! I seldom buy anything that isn't written down. It has to be a really good deal for me to deviate from the list.

Menu planning doesn't just save us money. It also helps organize our days. If I have a menu, I don't need to worry about what we're having for dinner. I don't need to scrounge around the kitchen trying to find something edible. I check the menu and make the meal. It's less stressful and less expensive (yes, back to money again). We're far less likely to run through a drive-thru or order pizza if dinner is planned.

One thing I don't do is assign specific meals to each day. I just make a list of 6-8 meals and we pick and choose what we're in the mood to make or eat.

This Week's Menu:



steak &
mashed potatoes
green beans

grilled italian chicken (marinate in italian dressing)
baked beans
macaroni salad

bbq chicken
corn on the cob
tomato/cucumber (not my personal garden)

tilapia filets

I bet you can tell hamburger and chicken were on sale this week. :) Tilapia is on the menu most weeks although we don't always get around to fixing it. I buy the big box of frozen filets b/c they're convenient to fix when we're late getting home and don't have anything else thawed (no need to thaw first).
I entered this post into the Frugal Fridays Carnival host by Biblical Womanhood. Check out the link for more frugal tips!