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Simple Saving Savvy: Savvy Saving Solutions ~ Meal Planning ~

Simple Saving Savvy

Practicing Wise Stewardship & Blessing Others Out of Our Abundance

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Savvy Saving Solutions ~ Meal Planning ~

Whether you use coupons or not, you can save quite a bit off your weekly or monthly grocery budget simply by planning your menus.
Grocery shopping without a determined list or impromtu meal preparations can cost you a mint.

Planning your menus allows you to utilize store sales and what you already have in your pantry. It also helps to curb impulse purchases.

I plan my menus 1-2 weeks in advance. I try to serve an assortment of beef, chicken and pork dishes with fish and ground turkey thrown in. I also serve alot of one pot dinners and casseroles to cut down on meat portions. Many homemakers I know have introduced meatless dinners to their families. More power to you husband would never go for that.

I also make up my own recipes from time to time based on what I have on hand.

Here is my menu from last week and this week (I plan Tuesday thru Monday):

Tuesday ~ Taco Salad
Wednesday ~ Beef Stroganof/Salad
Thursday ~ Turkey Burgers/Salad/Fruit
Friday ~ Grilled Pork Chops, Stuffing, Broccoli
Saturday ~ Spaghetti, bread
Sunday ~ Pork Stir Fry/Rice
Monday ~ Chicken & Black Bean Burritos/Fruit

Tuesday ~ Italian Chicken Pasta/Salad
Wednesday ~ Beef & Bean Burritos/Fruit
Thursday ~ Poppyseed Chicken/Rolls
Friday ~ Turkey Loaf/Mashed Potatoes/Green Beans
Saturday ~ Mexican Layered Casserole/Fruit
Sunday ~ Pork Roast/Potatoes/Carrots/Rolls
Monday ~ Mandarin Almond Chicken/Rice

As you can see, we eat well and you know our budget!

I do not strictly plan my menus according to what meats are on sale that week. Instead, whenever I find a great deal on meat, I try to pick up a couple extra packages. I also check Homeland for reduced meat sales. Buy for Less is another great place to pick up some awesome deals on meat. And if you eat lean, Aldi is your best bet for ground beef and turkey. By shopping ahead, I can keep my freezer stocked with at least an extra week's worth of meat and I can plan my meals from that and what's on sale that week. It gives me a little more flexibility.

I keep an inventory of the meat I have in the freezer and edit after each shopping trip. When I sit down to plan meals, I refer to my inventory. Once the menus are complete, I go through the days and make my shopping list accordingly.

During the summer, when the kids are home all day, everyday, I plan three meals a day and write it all out. During the school year, I don't get quite so detailed. I just make sure I have enough stuff on hand for breakfast every morning and fixin's for lunchboxes.

My favorite part of menu planning, aside from saving money, is that it makes my days stress free. I know what I'm serving every night and I can prep it early in the day which allows me more time for homework and hanging out with my kiddos and husband.

I even switch dinners around sometimes according to what we have going on that evening or if something unexpected comes up. I still know I have all the items on hand to make the dinners I planned for that week. No surprises!

Here is the chart I use to plan my meals. I have uploaded it to Google Docs to share with you.

Do you plan your weekly menus? I would love to hear your ideas!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't mind me asking what is your budget? Does it include food and toiletries?

August 31, 2009 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Simple Saving Savvy said...

My budget is capped at $150 per week for my family of seven. I never spend more but often spend less. This includes all food, household items, personal care items, health items and other things like extra school supplies, extra All You magazines, extra newspapers, etc. ~Amanda

August 31, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

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