One of the big ways that I save money while feeding my hungry family full of teens, is to have a meal plan. Now please don’t groan because honestly, the way I meal plan is quite flexible.
You know the saying “if we don’t fail to plan we plan to fail” How many times do you go to the cupboards to fix a meal and think “hmmm, there’s nothing to fix!” OR You are simply too tired and can’t think of what to fix with the food you do have!
If you have a meal plan in place then all you have to do is look on the plan and Oooh ya, that’s what I was going to make for dinner tonight!
There are many ways to create a simple meal plan, so I’ll share with you the most common and then I’ll share mine! You decide what works best for you, as Kristina said in her post earlier this week…not one size fits all! Do what works best for you, but remember to do it.
For those that like to stick to a fairly rigid meal plan:
- Planning each meal for each day is the easiest. You then know what you will have for each meal and snack for each day.
- For a little extra flexibility you can of course switch days around to meet the demand of time you have.
Use the printable below to create this type of meal plan
This next way is the meal planning process that I have been using forever. We are a busy house and with so many activities, I like to create a VERY flexible meal plan… so this is what I do. (plus I’m kind of an “only if I feel like it” kind a cook)
Flexible Meal Plan:
- Plan around your pay periods, my master menu plan is usually for 2 weeks to 1 month.
- Then go shopping for the whole menu. I then have all the food I need to make any meal I want (breakfast, lunch, dinner) any day of the week.
- Say you wanted Spaghetti 3 nights out of the month. You don’t have to plan which nights or lunches you want these to be on, unless of course you want to. The plan is to have the ingredients on hand so that at any time, you can go to the cupboard or freezer and know that you have everything you need to make these meals…3 times! If you want.
- Once you establish one main menu plan, then you can tweak it every month according to sales and trying out new recipes etc.
That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Use the below printable to plan for a month or a couple of weeks. Then SAVE it and tweak it for next month and the next and the next!
Enjoy looking at new recipes online, in magazines and cookbooks. Make it fun!
I’m curious, do you meal plan? How do you do it or would you like to learn more?