This is a follow up to The Menu Plan — Part One and The Menu Plan — Part Two: Ideas about creating a menu plan to lower your monthly shopping bill.
By creating a menu plan you’ll avoid the stress of not knowing what to cook. You will have all items at hands and therefore avoid extra runs to the store and save money. And, you will know almost exactly how much you will spend on groceries each day, week and month.
According to your family’s preferences you will schedule certain kind of dishes more or less. You might want to go for a weekly or for a monthly menu planner. If you don’t mind to eat the same meals every week, start out with a weekly planner. If you want more variety, use a bi-weekly or monthly one.
Meat and Fish
I mentioned in The Menu Plan — Part Two that the prices of meat and fish have gone up tremendously. That was the main reason for us to cut out on meat dishes. Remember, though, that having less meat a week is also healthier for our bodies. We still want to keep fish dishes in for at least 1-2 times per week. Check the prices and your family’s likes and dislikes and decide how many fish/meat meals you want to schedule a week.
Fruit, Salad and Vegetables (quick review)
Have more of these a week/month but choose wisely since many are overpriced. Ask yourself:
- What’s in season?
- How do prices of locally grown items compare to imported goods? To save even more money, could you grow some in your own garden and/or in containers?
- Which fruit, salad, vegetable lasts the longest (keep these for later on in the week and prepare the others first).
- Could you exchange some fresh items with canned ones? Watch for additives, though! (We always have some tomato cans at home)
Consider noodles/pasta, potatoes and rice as side dishes.
Let’s get organized!
Following are a few ideas on planners and lists you may want to collect and keep — to help you get started on menu planning.
This is what it’s all about, of course. But the task of creating it can be overwhelming at first. Take your time! And don’t stop here… Keep on working with the templates you like, ignoring the ones you have no use for, editing the ones that help you out and being inspired to create your own.
This would be a list that keeps track of your stock at home — what’s in your cupboard and/or freezer. You can also combine this one with the following one/s:
These are really handy. Update them regularly as prices go up or as you switch to another brand or as you get your things from another store. I created one for all items (divided by food category) and update it as needed at my computer.
Another advantage of having a set meal planner is that you can reuse the shopping list pretty much every week or every other or monthly — depending on what kind of plan you create/d.
Here is a webpage you may want to checkout and download colorful templates from: Organized Home — Menus and Meals (some are only printable, others are also fillable)