We save more money when I practice menu planning.
I have to admit that far too often, I just wing it with figuring out what is going to be for dinner, and that tends to lead to more spending, either because we decide to go out to eat, we use up the more expensive convenience foods we keep on hand for emergencies, or we ignore our pantry or fridge and have more expired food.
Since one of my goals this year is to stay on track with grocery spending, I am adding regular menu planning to the list of practices. Menu planning is so important, because with it you can take advantage of low cost ingredients, yet still provide nutritious meals to your family. In addition to the reasons I listed above, menu planning can account for individual family styles and commitments, as well as location or time of year! For example, if you live near a farmer’s market and it is summer, chances are they are practically giving away zucchini and tomatoes. Your menu plan for the week might include any of the following: ratatouille, chocolate zucchini bread, pasta with homemade sauce, salsa and chips, etc.
This week, I’m going to start slowly, with just planning out our dinners, knowing that I usually will make breakfast and snacks as part of my daily routine anyway. At the moment, I am leaving Sunday open because the new grocery sales start then–and I am not sure what will be available. I’m also planning in one back up meal that could get carried over to next week.
Monday: Ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, side salad
Tuesday: Cheese enchiladas with corn and bean salsa side dish
Wednesday: Fettucini Alfredo with ham and peas
Thursday: Breaded baked chicken, green beans, homemade rolls,
Friday: Homemade pizza with toppings
Saturday: Turkey cheese burgers, fries, broccoli
Sunday: Open (see above)
Back up meal: Honey turkey (fully cooked in freezer), mashed potatoes (also in freezer) and a green vegetable.