Menu planning saves you time and money

Do you menu plan?

Menu planning is probably the one thing I do that saves me the MOST time every week.

It’s also going to save you money when you start using up all the food in the freezer and in the back of the cupboards.

Just a week ago, I was organising my little bags of cook-in sauces, soups, etc. When I organise, I take the opportunity to clean at the same time.

As I was cleaning it all out, I found a bag of Thai curry sauce. That week I put beef on the list and made the meal. I love clearing out old food; don’t you?

Note – you should always plan your menu before you go to the shops to do your grocery shopping 😉

30-minute rolls from My Pinterest Projects board

Here’s the process I like to follow:

1. Go to your freezer and cupboards to see what food you have that you need to use up and make a list.
2. Do you have all the ingredients to make meals? If yes, great – add the meals to your menu plan. If not, put the balance of the ingredients on your shopping list.
3. Write out a menu plan for a week (if you do weekly shopping) or longer, using recipes to use up that food.
4. You may need to get creative. I love cooking when I have to use up odds and ends because it forces me to get creative and be resourceful. The other day I made a pasta dish with one chicken breast and some veggies… to use it all up so it didn’t waste.
5. Add any items that you need additionally to your weekly shopping list and do your shopping.
6. Stick the menu plan to your fridge.
7. You don’t necessarily have to cook the Monday meal on Monday. Swop them all around if you must (and I do!). The point is to know which meals you can make that particular week.

Now you don’t have to rack your brain every night wondering what to cook.

You have a PLAN.

Another tip that will save you lots of time is to cook something on a Sunday afternoon. This meal is not for eating that day, but for freezing.

When you have a busy day it’s easy to just defrost the meal and have a healthy supper on the table in minutes.

We went through a stage where we didn’t buy any meat for two months while we finished everything in the freezer and started on the cupboards. You see, we all get into a habit of buying the same groceries every week without checking if we really need it.

THIS WEEK’S COACHING CHALLENGE

1. If you’re not already menu planning, I’d like to encourage you to at least start. Do so for at least a week or two and let me know how you like it.

2. If you already do menu planning, then your challenge for this week is to only buy perishables and eat from your freezer and cupboards as much as possible.

3. If you need help or support, contact me for a once-off coaching session to help get you unstuck or book a free get-acquainted chat with me to see if we’re a good fit for a monthly coaching relationship.

Do you menu plan? How has that saved you time and money?

PS My friend, Laura, does a weekly round up of menu planners. I don’t participate anymore but I did for a good few years when I first started. Join in if you want some accountability. But PLEASE set a timer before you start browsing recipes – this is meant to save you time 🙂

Feature Friday – menu planning

Feature Friday is an occasional highlight of something that works in my home/ life.

I love menu planning.

It saves me such a lot of time and helps us all to eat healthier and shop better for groceries.

Here is my favourite little magnetic menu planning board (South Africans, I got it for R30 at Mega Mica about 3 years ago and it’s not actually intended for menu planning – I think it’s for kids’ homework).

I start off by cleaning the whole thing.

I then check my freezer and see if there’s anything I want to use up or if there are freezer meals that need eating.

Add those to the board.

Then I make sure we don’t eat any one carb two nights in a row (I like to switch things every night).

I only plan for Mon – Fri and on Saturdays and Sundays we fly by the seat of our pants.

Not really, I just felt like saying that.

We usually use up any leftovers or I’ll do the quickest thing which is a pasta.

Notice our meals are on top and the babies’ meals are on the bottom of the squares.

The babies eat what we had for supper the previous night since they eat at 5 pm and I’m not even home from work then. Except when we have spicy meals like curries.

And that’s it.

Easy-peasy menu planning.

 

I don’t consult a lot of recipe books except when I’m uninspired which is fairly rare because I do love food.

I have set myself a little goal this year though; I’m to try two new meals every month. Of course, all these new things are always cooked on the weekends which is the only time I have more than 30 minutes to spend in the kitchen.

Do you menu plan?

Do you cook the same things or do you like trying new recipes?

P.S. Are you joining me for Spring into Organising?

How do you start your week off purposefully?

I’ve been on leave from my full-time job for the last two weeks and I go back on Tuesday.

That has been all the incentive I’ve needed to get our home sorted to start our week purposefully.

Today I

  1. cooked a meal, enough for 8 portions (4 meals for us)
  2. made my weekly menu plan, both for us and for the kids, and made notes about when I have to actually cook (I don’t cook every day)
  3. decluttered my fridge and freezer (is it just me or is there something so satisfying about finishing bits of food, throwing away old foods and organising it all nicely?!)
  4. threw a load of laundry in the machine, ready to go first thing when I wake tomorrow
  5. tidied the kitchen and laundry

Even though everything isn’t as clean or as organised as I’d like it to be (don’t even think about peeking into my laundry), I feel calm, organised in my mind and ready to tackle the week.

We women are the home managers (in most cases) and if we’re prepared and organised, the whole tone of the home is peaceful, calm and in order – just like I like it!

How do you start your week off purposefully?

Save money on your groceries by menu planning

pic from the Household Organising File

(part of the Organise your Home ecourse) 

 

Do you menu plan?

Menu planning is probably the one thing I do that saves me the MOST time every single week.

It’s also going to save you mo.ney when you start using up all the food in the freezer and in the back of the cupboards. Oh, and not doing so much impulse shopping.

Note – you should do your menu planning BEFORE you go to the shops to do your grocery shopping 😉

Here are the five steps I use:

1. Go to your freezer and cupboards to see what food you have that you need to or want to use, and make a list.

2. Write out a menu plan for a week (if you do weekly shopping) or longer, using recipes to use up that food.

3. Add any items that you need additionally to your weekly shopping list and do your shopping.

4. Stick the menu plan to your fridge.

5. Follow the plan to the letter, or move things around and have Monday’s meal on Wednesday, etc, etc. At least you have the ingredients for all the meals available.

Now you don’t have to rack your brain every night wondering what to cook.

You have a PLAN.

Another tip that will save you lots of time is to cook something on a Sunday afternoon. This meal is not for eating that day, but for freezing.

When you have a busy day it’s easy to just defrost the meal and have a healthy supper on the table in minutes.

We went through a stage where we didn’t buy any meat for two months while we finished everything in the freezer and started on the cupboards.

You see, we all get into a habit of buying the same groceries every week without checking if we really need it.

If you’re not already menu planning, I’d like to encourage you to at least start. Do so for at least a month and give it a good go. If it REALLY doesn’t work with your personal style 🙂 then so be it.

If you already do menu planning, then your challenge for this week is to only buy perishables for your next shopping trip and eat from your freezer and cupboards.

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