Ideas for weekly menu planning can be hard to come by.
It just seems that every stay at home mom’s creativity is taxed by budget meal planning!
We are all in need of quick easy meal ideas for saving at the grocery store.
Here are a few to get you started.
First, we need to talk about the importance of planning out a weekly menu before heading out the door to the grocery store. Why menu plan? Why take the 15 mins or so to sit down and write out what meals you will prepare during the week?
A few reasons:
If you have a plan, you are less tempted to go out to eatYou know what ingredients to purchase so you are not missing anythingYou spend less money when you only purchase items on your listWith a plan, you will cause yourself less stress as 5pm approachesSo let’s come up with some ideas for weekly menu planning and start saving money at the grocery store!
For years I thought coming up with ideas for weekly menu planning and budget meal planning was more trouble than it was worth. I was trying to make the process more difficult than it needed to be, and consequently we overspent at the grocery store and ate out more night than not.
But then my eyes were opened to planning quick easy meal ideas and my saving at the grocery store kicked into high gear. Here are some meal planning tips.
Keep it Simple
There is no need for you to scour your recipe books and try and make 7 new dishes each week. In fact, don’t even think about it! Plan out your family’s favorite meals, and maybe one new recipe, if desired, per week.
And don’t try to go overboard and plan a month’s worth of meals to start with (ask me how I know this). Start with a week.
One of the best ideas for weekly menu planning is to rotate your menus! As you start this project, keep each week’s budget meal planning for later. Once you have 6-8 weeks worth of menus, reuse them! There is no need to try and come up with something completely different.
Don’t be afraid to duplicate your family’s favorite meals once a week, or once every other week. Again, keep it simply. Your family will appreciate it, and so will you.
Create Your Own Menu Planning Board
Keep it Quick
The name of the budget meal planning game is quick easy meal ideas. Your crockpot is your best friend. Make sure to plan at least one meal per week in it. And don’t feel like you need to spend an hour in the kitchen nightly. Plan for quick easy meal ideas so you won’t be tempted to throw in the towel and order pizza.
Plan for Evening Activities
When making up your menu for the week, sit down with your activities calendar. Do your kids do karate on Wednesday evenings?
Then maybe that should be crockpot night. Is Friday your errand day? Make sure you have a really quick dinner ready to go.
Prepare in Advance
When coming up with ideas for weekly menu planning, try and think about ways for saving at the grocery store as well as ways for saving time. Cook up one big chicken for three meals: a roast, leftover meat for chicken tacos, and the bones and scrap pieces for chicken noodle soup, for example.
Or make up one big batch of brown rice and use it throughout the week in several recipes. Or perhaps make a big beef or pork roast, and shred the leftovers with some BBQ sauce for pulled meat sandwiches. A little advanced thought will go a long way.
Make a Shopping List
As you complete your weekly menu planner, it is very important that you now write down all the ingredients and supplies you will need from the store. Remember, making a shopping list is one of the best ways for saving at the grocery store.
The best way I have found for doing this is to make up a page for each meal. For example, I make spaghetti every other week or so, using a store-bought can of spaghetti sauce. However, I add onions, green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and ground beef to it to make it taste better, and give more nutrition to my family.
So I made up a sheet of paper with all the ingredients I use for this dish. On a week when spaghetti is on my menu, I refer to the sheet and add those ingredients to my shopping list. This way I have my own recipe book.
Consider Breakfasts and Lunches and Snacks
Now, I don’t recommend doing this your first week menu planning, but as you begin to make it a habit, try and plan for breakfasts, lunches and snacks as well as dinners. Being organized saves money and time. But it doesn’t come naturally to most of us.
More info on Breakfast and Lunch Menu Planning with Kids.
Get Help if You Need it
For those of us who really like the idea of planning our meals on a weekly basis, but really really don’t have any ideas for weekly menu planning (been there, done that) then a little help is in order.
This menu planning service will help you organize your meals and get everyone to the dinner table.
The dishes are creative, delicious, and easy to prepare. Plus, you can choose your menu based on your family’s needs and tastes.
The best ideas for weekly menu planning are ones that you can actually see. I have put together a one-week budget meal planning menu that is typical for our family. Make substitutions and replacements as needed to suit your family.
This sample menu can be found on the Low Budget Recipes page.
Money Saving Resources
Use the following resources to help you on your path towards frugal food.
1. More pages on Stay-a-Stay-at-Home-Mom.com:
Cheap Grocery Resources
Freezer Cooking Tips
Menus for Kids
Start a Food Exchange
Raise Meat Rabbits
Raise Chickens in Your Backyard
Order Groceries Online
Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips
Start a Grocery Price Book