31Days and 31 Ways to Save Money: Day2- Menu Planning and Menu Monday

  We are on to day two and one of my favorite ways to save money and that is to plan a menu for the week.

For the last few years I have often participated in Menu Monday a regular round-up hosted by Organizing Junkie.

When it came to learning how to plan a healthy, frugal, halal menu all I had to do was read each and every Monday. I have learned much from the different blogs I have visited.

Why should one plan a menu? why do I?

First lets define what I consider a menu plan– You plan out what you are going to cook ahead of time. Some do this for a week, some for 2, some for a month, and some have plans that rotate.

Now why?

  • My number one reason is that by planning I buy what I need, so there is no food rotting in the fridge, no food in the garbage can, get my drift-no waste.
  • As well there is no longer that 6 pm stare- no looking into the fridge and wonder what I am going to cook all I have to do is look at the menu plan.
  • By planning to cook at home we do not eat on the go, I know I have a stocked fridge, I know what I have planned for the night thus there is no mad dash for the drive thru.

Those 3 reasons are enough to leave money in your pocket book. I am sure you can come up with others. So now we have the why, time to get down  to brass tacks and the How:

First of all there are lots of online tools, email alerts and the works if you want to do it online, but for now we are going to use an old fashion system that works great whether you have internet access on a regular basis or not.

So How to Plan Your Menu

1. Get yourself a white laminated board or a laminated calendar. I got mine from the dollar store. To go along with this get yourself erasable markers and an eraser ( total investment will be less then $5) You will want to post it where it handy to all family members.  In my house I have a teen who cooks 2 nights a week.

2. Decide what you are going to eat. There are so many blogs, recipe sites, books for every style of cooking your might want to try. In my house I regularly visit those who are participating in Menu Monday to see what they are trying that I might want to try here at home. We also have about 15 tried and true recipes that we use every month. In our house we are going for a healthy, frugal and halal menu.

In our house each week you will find:

  • one breakfast for dinner.
  • One slow cooking meal
  • a pasta meal
  • a skillet meal
  • a meat and potatoes night
  • leftover night

3. Write It Down. Make it easy on yourself. We have a Corkboard under the Menu plan and on that I can attach recipes if I have printed them off a website( If I do once cooked it goes into my cookbook binder). But do write down what you want to cook for at least a week.

4. Transfer your list into into your grocery list. Yesterday I posted a great extensive grocery list you can simply check off.

One of the things I do as I think about what I want to cook for the week, I look to see what is on sale at my local grocery store. Because I shop halal for my meat I make a monthly trip to the butcher. Otherwise I look for fish or shrimp on sale. I am also looking for staples on sale.By doing this overall I am able to save even more money.

Now what is on the Menu in my house this week:

Monday- hotdogs and salad

Tuesday-Breakfast for dinner-pancakes, sliced tomatoes

Wednesday-Easy Tuna Casserole, salad

Thursday-Slow Cooker Beef Stew, rolls

Friday-left overs

Saturday- Homemade Pizza, salad

Sunday- Roast Chicken, roasted potatoes, roasted carrots

Hope if you don’t already menu plan you will try it at least for a week, once you get the hang of it I am sure you will love the savings that come by sticking to your plan. Now I am off to Organizing Junkie to get ideas for next week.

Source: http://commoncentsmom.com/2011/05/03/31days-and-31-ways-to-save-money-menu-planning-and-menu-monday/

Making it Count

Blast from the Past! Desirable Residences and Other Stories by E.F. Benson