I am a menu planner. I have been for a few years now. My methods have changed up a lot since I first started.
Menu planning for us is a life saver. I am not the best cook and am not all that creative when it comes to cooking, unlike my hubby. I need a menu plan just to make sure we eat properly daily. I also need good recipes to make sure the meal I make is edible. LOL. I had to teach myself how to cook. Growing up I spent several years living with one of my aunts and her version of teaching me to cook was “read the box, follow the instructions”. Needless to say, our meals were always the healthiest. My uncle would do real cooking on the weekends or when we went camping. Homemade pancakes, eggs, gravy, biscuits ,etc. But, I was never taught, he just did the cooking without any help. As I got older and moved in with my dad when I was 15 he would buy easy meals for me to cook and I had to fend for myself. Microwave items, for example. He cooked nightly for Waffle House and ate at work usually so he never cooked at home or showed how to cook anything. As I moved into adulthood and was on my own I went straight for the “boxed stuff” for years. Roman Noodles, hamburger helper and boxed noodles. As I became a parent I would just add a can of veggies with the boxed item and call it a meal. But the older I got and more educated I became about cooking and meal prep the more I found that having a planned meal, balanced and as healthy as we can afford is so much better for me and my family.
Some people use sales ads or coupons to plan their meals. And I have to say I spent some time a little over a year ago planning my meals that way. But what I learned after a while was that a lot of coupons are for foods we don’t eat or items that we just shouldn’t eat. I’d prefer to make a homemade meal with as little processed items as possible. So, now I have a recipes binder filled with recipes I find on Pinterest, Good Cheap Eats, Keeper of the Home and a few others I don’t use that often.
I use Organizing Life as MOM eBook which is filled with tons of helpful menu layouts, calendars, and so much more. I plan out all 3 meals every day of the month, since we homeschool and eat at home 3 meals a day. Then I record the needed ingredients for each meal. After that I use the helpful pantry staples list to check the items I have on hand and to see if I have enough to cover our meals and what I need to purchase. We grocery shop 2 times a month, at paydays. We also do the bulk of our shopping at Sam’s club, with only a few items at Wal-Mart. The Sam’s Club membership has been one of our most valuable investments. I know we have saved tons of money shopping there. We have the plus membership, which is more but when certain items go on sale (or have evalues, which is similar to coupons) we are able to try items we wouldn’t normally try out, plus we get lots of savings.
For example, we bought hubby a 3 pack of shaving cream in February of this year, he just started the 2nd bottle today! They are pretty tall bottle and we paid about $10 for them all. Its the same with deodorant and his razor refills. Buying in bulk saves so much over buying individually, even with coupons. IMO.
Anyways, what are some other ways you do menu planning? Share!