Thursday, June 7, 2012

Meal Planning

In an attempt to save time and money. I have reconfigured my approach to meal planning and grocery shopping. But, before I share my secrets, because lets face it Martha Stewart asks me for advice, insert sarcastic eye roll here, lets review my previous strategies....

Before I had kids, I would just shop for food when the cupboard was bare. No real list to go by, just fill the cart with stuff and hope it could be put together to make a couple meals.

Since kids, my grocery shopping strategy seems to be an ever evolving experience. I have gone with lists, without lists, started couponing, stopped couponing, and chased sale items. This can be a huge time suck and you don't always fill your cart with the healthiest items, just cheap ones.

So where has this left me? Annoyed.  As my time becomes more stretched and the need to feed my family healthy somewhat clean meals becomes even more important, I am trying to spend a little more time planning and not as much time or money at the grocery store.

Not too long ago I was inspired by a blog I found called RobbyGurls Creations. There is a a 4 part post about how she made her menu board. This women made a very nice, well organized board that Martha Steward would be proud of.
Who has time for this?!?!
Not me. Luckily, you can buy your own menu board for as little as $110 or you can go for the deluxe package at $250!?!? Yes, really $250.  It is nice and it is an obsessive compulsive's  dream but, I would rather use that money to take my kids to the ball park, zoo, or pay for a race registration.

So I am stuck, at least for now, with this....

 What can I say? I work full time and I am training for 5 races. Ugghhh. Whatever. It gets the job done.

I have been able to do one grocery shopping trip every two weeks for the items needed to make 10-12 dinners, 2-4 lunches, breakfasts, and snacks. I then try to only go once in between to get things like milk and fresh produce. So far it has absolutely saved me time at the store and I have been tracking my spending a little more and I have managed to keep my spending down by about$50 and that is not really using coupons. I *might* be able to afford a fancy menu board someday!

I think this system might be a winner and one that will help keep my family feed healthy yummy meals while saving time and money.

 Menu planner? Couponer? What's your strategy?
If you menu plan, I would love to hear how you do it!


  1. Such a timely post!! I am struggling with this. I have a system kind of like you. But I always forget to think about lunches and snacks, and I almost always forget something on my list.

    1. I am trying really hard not to forget stuff, becuase I know if I go back to the store I won't get just that one thing!

  2. I stick with the menu planning routine. I use a dry erase board that has magnets to hang on the fridge and I bought fun colored markers. I am disappointed with couponing too because coupons are usually only for unhealthy, highly processed foods. Like you, I try to do the big shopping every other week. I alternate with one week of fun, pinterest/food blog inspired meals that take more planning and one week of the usual tried and true meals. I am sure I have a bit more free time since I am a SAHM. Good luck to you! I hope you find a system you can stick with.

  3. Thanks for reading Janet! I think this system is a keeper. I'm trying to work my way up to a planning for a month, just trying to get enough meals to choose from. I found a great sight on pinterest...skinny taste. Tons of great recipes.