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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Menu Ideas & Help / Planning a Menu for savings!!!
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    Planning a Menu for savings!!!

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    Charmie777
    Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:30 am
    Forum Host
    Planning a menu really can save you time and money. And most of all ... it's FUN!!!! SmileyCentral.com

    Planning a menu for a week, two weeks or even a month or more takes a little time at first, but the savings of your money AND your sanity are enormous!!!!

    What I do for planning for a week:

    First, I take inventory of all I have in my freezer and pantry. Sometimes this is just a mental list. But every now and then I actually go to the freezer and pantry and dig and write everything down!!
    If times are really lean, I will plan my whole week's menu using just what I have on hand, having to buy very little from the store other than fresh items.

    Next, I look through the sale fliers from the grocery stores. Most weeks I only go to one store, but if I'm really looking for a great price, I might visit more than one store. SmileyCentral.com

    Then, I sit down with my blank weekly menu AND my calendar AND my shopping list at the same time.

    I start putting down all the staples I need on the list, mentally going thru each room in the house to think of what I need (i.e. laundry room, bathrooms, kitchen)

    I look at my calendar and then I know which days I have little time to cook, lots of time to cook, or where I need to make something to go, or put in the crockpot.

    SmileyCentral.com Then, I just start plugging in recipes and meal items, trying to mix up poultry, meat, pasta, different styles of foods.

    I love to sit down at my computer and 'Zaar and use the Menu Function!!!! SmileyCentral.com
    I have 2 menus that I have set up with Group Headings for each day of the week.
    (December 8 thru December 14, 2007).
    I use the same 2 menus all the time, just deleting items as they are made, and then changing the title of the menu to reflect the current week.

    Because I use the sale fliers, I plan my meals around what is on sale that week. SAVES $$$$$

    Because I use my calendar when I plan my menu, I usually don't overload myself on days that I'm busy.

    Because I make my shopping list at the same time as my menu, I know I'm going to have everything on hand for every recipe! SmileyCentral.com

    And because I use the menu function on Zaar, my menu is always handy, all recipes are available at a click, and I can link into the shopping list function and I'm set!!!!
    SmileyCentral.com

    Share your ideas for Menu Planning!!!

    Do you plan for a week, 2 weeks, a month?? How do you do it?

    (And don't forget to come visit us over the The Menu Ideas Forum!!! SmileyCentral.com)


    Last edited by Charmie777 on Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total
    katie in the UP
    Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:50 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I try to have approx 2 weeks menus planned before I hit the grocery stores. You are right....if I have a plan...it's not nearly as costly!
    I need lots of crockpot or quick meals for during the week...otherwise DH and I will meet in town and go out too eat icon_redface.gif I try to have a few 'emergency' meals in the freezer (left over soup....taco meat....etc) for days I just don't have a clue icon_redface.gif
    We also do Breakfast for dinner a couple times of month...it's generally quick...and tastey (we don't do breakfast in the AM's except week ends).
    dianegrapegrower
    Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:32 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I've been planning menus for years - typically for 2 weeks at a time. (my kids would say it's a "control thing") But besides saving money, it helps us eat healthier. And it really helps reduce stress in the evening, after work, when I'm feeling like I can't make another decision and don't have a creative thought. But I could still gather the family around the table for a hot meal. Now that the kids are off to college, I still plan meals for DH and I for many of the same reasons.

    Diane
    faith58
    Wed Jan 02, 2008 8:41 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I usually try to plan meals for the week. If something comes up I change it but If I know what I am making and make sure I have all the ingredients it works out great. Charmie and katie great tips thanks for sharing.
    CheapThrills
    Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:20 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    You got it, Charmie! I do pretty much the same, except I try to keep current daily on what's in the pantry and freezers, just by observing. I also plan out 3-4 weeks at a time. I do leave holes, though, for the unbelievable deals that drop down from the sky. icon_rolleyes.gif And I keep track of what kind of meals I'm serving, to vary the fare (V, C, P, T, B, F). I mark the meals that will use leftovers with a * so I remember to make enough (and not eat t for lunch!). Meal planning and careful shopping have helped me keep our food budget to about $60/week for four (that's up from $50 this summer). Oh, p.s., I cook mostly from scratch. Now there's a savings plan!
    Debber
    Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:46 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    CheapThrills wrote:
    You got it, Charmie! I do pretty much the same, except I try to keep current daily on what's in the pantry and freezers, just by observing. I also plan out 3-4 weeks at a time. I do leave holes, though, for the unbelievable deals that drop down from the sky. icon_rolleyes.gif And I keep track of what kind of meals I'm serving, to vary the fare (V, C, P, T, B, F). I mark the meals that will use leftovers with a * so I remember to make enough (and not eat t for lunch!). Meal planning and careful shopping have helped me keep our food budget to about $60/week for four (that's up from $50 this summer). Oh, p.s., I cook mostly from scratch. Now there's a savings plan!


    Oh dear....do tell me what V, C, P, T, B, and F mean! I'm guessing Vulture, Cactus, Platypus, Toenails, Beetles and Flowers. That can't be right, can it? rotfl.gif
    Kim127
    Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:56 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    icon_eek.gif icon_eek.gif
    I bow to your organizational goddessness!!

    I have dreams of being that organized, and even go so far to plan out a weeks menu and then by Tuesday have it all messed up.
    Missy Wombat
    Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:48 pm
    Forum Host
    I get paid fortnightly on a Thursday. The Wednesday before I check the supplies and plan about one week of meals mainly to cover the upcoming weekend.
    Friday I hit one supermarket as they have their dairy specials then. I also go to the Asian emporium and the butcher next door to buy pet mince for the dogs. Saturday or Sunday I hit the local produce markets. After that we do the rest of the shopping using a list.
    I then finetune the menu.
    Red Chef Mama
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:34 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    I always plan menu's as well. I looooveee doing this!! LOL. I go shopping once a month (though there are always a few things during the month we have to go back for more of). I really get so excited at the first of the month when I get to do my grocery list and go shopping. I go in and see what is in my pantry, then go through all of my recipe's and pick 30 that I want for the month. Then I write down all the ingredients I will need for the month (and extra things)...I then organize my list by the way my grocery store is arranged. I write out my list of meals for the month in no particular order (I like being able to choose the day of) I typically put page numbers if necessary and/or keep all of the recipes for the month in a separate folder. We usually spend about 300-350 dollars a month for 4 people. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. icon_biggrin.gif Before I started menu planning we were going back to the store all the time and spending about 500 bucks a month!!! icon_eek.gif
    Charmie777
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:37 pm
    Forum Host
    Red Chef Mama wrote:
    I always plan menu's as well. I looooveee doing this!! LOL. I go shopping once a month (though there are always a few things during the month we have to go back for more of). I really get so excited at the first of the month when I get to do my grocery list and go shopping. I go in and see what is in my pantry, then go through all of my recipe's and pick 30 that I want for the month. Then I write down all the ingredients I will need for the month (and extra things)...I then organize my list by the way my grocery store is arranged. I write out my list of meals for the month in no particular order (I like being able to choose the day of) I typically put page numbers if necessary and/or keep all of the recipes for the month in a separate folder. We usually spend about 300-350 dollars a month for 4 people. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. icon_biggrin.gif Before I started menu planning we were going back to the store all the time and spending about 500 bucks a month!!! icon_eek.gif


    That's great!!!!
    Have you ever tried out the menu function WITH the shopping list function? Or just the shopping list function...it's fun!
    Red Chef Mama
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:47 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Charmie777 wrote:
    Red Chef Mama wrote:
    I always plan menu's as well. I looooveee doing this!! LOL. I go shopping once a month (though there are always a few things during the month we have to go back for more of). I really get so excited at the first of the month when I get to do my grocery list and go shopping. I go in and see what is in my pantry, then go through all of my recipe's and pick 30 that I want for the month. Then I write down all the ingredients I will need for the month (and extra things)...I then organize my list by the way my grocery store is arranged. I write out my list of meals for the month in no particular order (I like being able to choose the day of) I typically put page numbers if necessary and/or keep all of the recipes for the month in a separate folder. We usually spend about 300-350 dollars a month for 4 people. That includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. icon_biggrin.gif Before I started menu planning we were going back to the store all the time and spending about 500 bucks a month!!! icon_eek.gif


    That's great!!!!
    Have you ever tried out the menu function WITH the shopping list function? Or just the shopping list function...it's fun!

    I haven't ever used the menu function on zaar before. I think I will give it a go...do you like it alot??? I also do what you do when our pocketbooks are a little dry. I just plan meals by everything I have on hand....I actually find that is alot of fun being creative that way! icon_biggrin.gif
    Charmie777
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:49 pm
    Forum Host
    I love it!!! I do a weekly menu, like January 5 thru January 11, 2008, and also special occasion menus, like Zachary's Birthday Dinner.
    Red Chef Mama
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:55 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Charmie777 wrote:
    I love it!!! I do a weekly menu, like January 5 thru January 11, 2008, and also special occasion menus, like Zachary's Birthday Dinner.

    Do you have to be a premium member to do that? I am planning on switching to a premium membership as soon as I can. With the holidays finally coming to an end I hope I will have the $ to do that soon!
    Charmie777
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:14 pm
    Forum Host
    Red Chef Mama wrote:
    Charmie777 wrote:
    I love it!!! I do a weekly menu, like January 5 thru January 11, 2008, and also special occasion menus, like Zachary's Birthday Dinner.

    Do you have to be a premium member to do that? I am planning on switching to a premium membership as soon as I can. With the holidays finally coming to an end I hope I will have the $ to do that soon!


    Gee, maybe you do...I don't know, but that's a good question!

    I just looked, and I think you do have to be premium...sorry!!! But I do love my premium membership!
    Red Chef Mama
    Fri Jan 04, 2008 11:29 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Charmie777 wrote:
    Red Chef Mama wrote:
    Charmie777 wrote:
    I love it!!! I do a weekly menu, like January 5 thru January 11, 2008, and also special occasion menus, like Zachary's Birthday Dinner.

    Do you have to be a premium member to do that? I am planning on switching to a premium membership as soon as I can. With the holidays finally coming to an end I hope I will have the $ to do that soon!


    Gee, maybe you do...I don't know, but that's a good question!

    I just looked, and I think you do have to be premium...sorry!!! But I do love my premium membership!


    Even more reason for me to become a premium member!!! icon_biggrin.gif
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