Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Planning ahead.

As some of you may or may not know, I've recently begun to do my grocery shopping on a monthly basis. For those of you who've never heard or contemplated this concept, I'll let you catch your breath .......... Ready? Ok. It's honestly not as scary or intimidating as it sounds. It's rather simple, and so I thought I'd share my most recent monthly meal plan. You'll get a feel for how easy it is - and I'll even let you steal some meal ideas if you'd like!

A few notes before I begin... 1) I look at the month and record any days where I know we'll be out of town, eating out - even in a rush. 2) I incorporate left-over days. No sense in wasting food! 3) Other than the days I mentioned in #1, the rest of my meals are loosey-goosey. Meaning, I don't necessarily make the exact meal on the date listed.

I'd like to think you'll all be dazzled by what's to come, but I think you'll feel a little disappointed once you see how rudimentary it really is:
(This was for June/July)

20 Black Bean Quesadillas
21 Chicken and Rice Bake & salad
22 Chicken Casserole
23 Round Steak
24 Pizza Night
25 L/O (left overs)
26 --eat out--
27 Stromboli
28 Super Subs
29 Porcupine Meatballs & mashed potatoes
30 Roast & Potatoes
1 Pizza Night
2 --eat out--
3 --eat out--
4 Ham & augratin potatoes
5 L/O
6 Breakfast - Eggs & bacon
7 Spaghetti & garlic bread
8 --eat out--
9 --eat out--
10 Pancakes
11 Garlic Bread Pizzas
12 Grilled Cheese & Soup
13 L/O
14 Campfire Packets
15 Hamburgers & Fries
16 Hot Beef Sandwiches & Salad
17 L/O

I feel like I need to say that we normally do NOT eat out this much. And "eat out" here does not mean we're eating at a restaurant. It may mean we're eating at someone else's house, too.

Now, from this menu, I make my shopping list. I won't do my ENTIRE shopping list here, but I'll give an example of how I do it. I start with a list that has the categories: BREADS, DAIRY, FROZEN, MEATS, CANNED, BOXED, BAKING, FRESH, OTHER. Then I start with the first menu item... Quesadillas.

BREADS - tortillas

DAIRY - shredded cojack cheese
sour cream

MEATS - boneless chix breasts
family pk cut up chix

CANNED - salsa
black beans x 2
canned corn x 2
cream of mushroom soup x 2

BOXED - rice

FRESH - cilantro
salad mix

I then move to my next menu item (in this case the Chix & Rice bake) and I add to the list. I marked them in white so you can see that I just simply added to the category. If I would need more canned corn, for example, I would just change the quantity.

Once I have my whole shopping list made, I add items from my ongoing fridge list of things we run out of. Then I add in the "OTHER" category things like toiletries & cleaning supplies. I also take into account snacks, groceries I'll need if I know I will be bringing a dish to pass somewhere, and easy lunch items for the kids and I at home.

And last, I look through my coupons for coupons that match the items that I have on my list and I put a "C" with a circle around it by that item, so I can be sure I 1) use the coupon and 2) look at the coupon to make sure I'm getting the right item.

This process takes a while - especially when you do it the first few times, but you'll get the system down and before you know it, you'll have a stocked pantry and won't dread it when your kids or husband ask you "What's for dinner?". Because you'll know! And you'll have everything you need for a plethora of meals right at your fingertips!

(Note: I do shop once a week still, for perishables, restock milk, and anything that goes on a weekly sale that I can't pass up.)

I have saved LOTS of money doing it this way, because I'm not forced to run to the store out of desperation.


Rachelp said... proud of you... I don't know that I can do a month at a time..but I am going to start ..atleast doing a week at a time...


Anonymous said...

I have heard of tons of people doing this, but no one has broken it down quite so easily. THANK YOU! This is wonderful! Now I have something to move forward with, and I think I can do it...but I still may call you for help. :)