Get Organized and Save Money With Weekly Meal Plans

Several months ago when I started paying more attention to personal finance blogs one of the first things I noticed is weekly meal plans or menu plans. Soon it seemed as if every second blog I visited had a post about menu planning. The more I read the more I became interested in adopting this idea.

So on January 1st I created our first meal plan.

ribsI did an inventory of what we had on hand and used that to come up with ideas for meals throughout the week. I didn’t just do dinner. I also tried to include breakfast and lunch, although most days we usually eat the same thing for breakfast.

As soon as I posted our meal plan on the fridge for the first week I felt this huge weight lift off of my shoulders. I felt so organized.

I knew I would no longer need to agonize over what’s for dinner each day.

As long as I remembered to look at the plan each morning and take whatever I needed out of the freezer for dinner, I was doing well.

The other benefit of doing a weekly meal plan is grocery shopping. Instead of going to the store and buying anything and everything and spending a ton of money, I now only buy what we need based on the meal plan for the next week or two. I also noticed that by doing all this planning we throw out a lot less food. Before we had so much in the fridge that some things would expire before we even got to it.

If I run out of ideas for meals, I browse the weekly grocery store flyers to see what is on sale that week. Then I base my meal plan around what I can buy on sale.

It may seem like we make the same meals each week and many times we do because we enjoy making simple quick meals that include veggies and protein.

We also really enjoy baking our own bread. Baking our own bread does save us some money, but more importantly we know exactly what is in it.

You can do weekly meal planning for a variety of reasons. I think the top two are saving money on groceries and being organized for the week. When the family asks “What’s for dinner?” just ask them to look on the fridge.

Here is our Weekly Meal Plan for the week of February 19th.

weekly meal plan february 19

What's your family having for dinner this week?



    • WorkSaveLive

      WorkSaveLive 02/19/2012 2:42 p.m. #

      I love menu/meal planning!

      My wife and I have been doing it for a couple of years and it's saved us a tremendous amount of money!

      Not to mention, it helps when you get home late and don't know what's for dinner. Just like you said...all you have to do is look at the fridge!

    • AverageJoe

      AverageJoe 02/20/2012 3:34 p.m. #

      Man, look at that menu! I'm eating at your house from now on....

      The key for us is your "throw less stuff out" comment. When we don't plan the menu we throw out tons of food. A friend told me about the menu planner app and that makes it a ton easier, too.

    • Tackling Our Debt

      Tackling Our Debt 02/20/2012 6:08 p.m. #

      Menu planning just really helps to simplify something that is usually such a big chore.

      Here's to relaxing and not throwing much food out anymore!

    • Emily @ evolvingPF

      Emily @ evolvingPF 02/26/2012 4:54 p.m. #

      Meal planning has been on my mind lately because of PF blogs, too! However, we don't really waste food any more and we've fallen into ruts of what we buy - not very exciting but makes decisions a lot easier. Maybe I will get into when our CSA starts up and we are receiving different food every week.

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