Meal Planning 101

 We have now been meal planning for more than six months!  I have to admit we have been a bit relaxed about meal planning during the holidays (read too relaxed to do much of anything!) but we are now gearing up to get back on track.  We have had more time during the holidays to think about our meals and shop at the last minute but we have noticed our grocery bill skyrocket!  I mean triple the amount we usually spend!!!

So now my tips for meal planning.  I know I have published them before but due to the number of requests here they are AGAIN!!!

1. 7 Days of Creation.  
For us it is a strictly 7 day plan.  I can’t think that far ahead and grocery shopping with two children in tow means that a weeks worth of groceries already takes us two hours!

2. Don’t just think dinners.  
I try and plan it so that Wednesday’s and Thursday’s dinner meals are left over worthy so that I can take them for lunch the following day.  This has meant we are saving a further $10-15 a week on lunches!

3.  Kids Menu. 
 I try to plan meals that are easy for children to eat or can easily be altered, it saves cooking two different dinners!

4.  Make it Mondays.  
Our grocery store pamphlets arrive Sunday’s.  They are loaded with specials that inspire many ideas and they often have recipes and meal suggestions inside!  Our woolworths has it’s specials starting on a Monday. Hence I plan on Sunday and shop on Monday’s.

5.  Shop around.  
Ok so it is not as convenient BUT…we have Aldi, Woolworths and a Dollar Store at our local shopping centre.  After a month of shopping I know which products are cheaper at each store! I generally start at Aldi, then Woolworths.  I can’t rave about Aldi enough especially after this week they announced they will be removing all products with artificial colours from the shelves!
6. Do not shop without your plan and list.
We have all read about how much extra money you spend when you shop without a list.  Now times that saving by two for a plan and a list!  When you have a plan you only buy what is on the plan.  No vegetables rotting in the bottom of the fridge because you bought them without a purpose!

NOW HERE IS A BIG ONE
We have developed a Monthly Plan for household shopping.  
We were living with a horrible cycle of everything running out at once! 
Toilet paper, cleaning products, toiletries it would be a huge budget blowout, we would stock up again to face a month later that everything had run out at the same time…AGAIN!  so…..
on my meal plan and shopping List printable you will notice a lack of “BIG” items.  It works like this…..
Each month is divided into 4 weeks.  Each week we have a designated “Monthly Items Shop” This way we can also save money by buying in bulk and never run out of the necessities like toilet paper!

Monthly Items –
Week 1 – Toiletries – Toilet Paper, Shampoo & Conditioner, Soap, Baby Bath, Tissues, Hair Colour, Personal Care etc
Week 2 – Cleaning – Dishwashing liquid and tablets, Spray and Wipe, Sponges, Air Freshener, Blue Loo
Week 3 – Household – Washing powder, batteries, lightbulbs, fly spray, stationery,
Week 4 – Kitchen – Glad Wrap, Paper Towel, Serviettes, Alfoil, Snap lock bags, Sugar, Flour etc
The key to making the monthly shop work is really thiking ahead.  After 1 month of sticking to it you get an idea of exactly what quantities of each item you require to last the month.
So where do you keep all of these plans and lists?
I have created our very own meal plan and shopping list.

Even better you can download the Meal Plan and Shopping List HERE

Here is mine for the week.  I use the spaces on the left to fill out what is for lunch AND dinner each day.  In a few weeks we will be back into the school and work lunches routine.  We are preparing now by thinking about how we can best use our grocery shopping and dinners to also to provide lunches.  

The next space is a place to write down the shopping items needed for that particular meal.  The final column is our weekly shopping list, with a little space down the bottom for other shopping, this week its a storage container and contact.

For us meal planning has saved us time, money and sanity.  But it’s more about what it gives me.  The satisfaction knowing my family are eating healthy meals, I feel organised and on top of things, well the meals at least!!!

Do you meal plan?  Would you like to try? If you need inspiration check out the meal plans linked up to The Organised Housewife today!

Comments

  1. Becky et al says:

    I am a lax planner, but should make an effort to improve. The only thing I do differently is instead of the monthly items spread out, I wait and buy them in bulk when they are on special. I also have a two week planner on the side of the fridge in which I list the menu, this way I can see at a glance what I need to prepare and defrost. I shop every two weeks as I am out of town and it is easier for us.

    Thanks for the downloads, I will give it a go and see if it inspires me to do better this year, I REALLY hope it does.

  2. That is so cool !!!! I’ve put my meal-plan on my weekly planner before, but not thought of doing it with the shopping list – such a clever idea!!! Thankyou so much for sharing 🙂

  3. Meal planning is on my list of things to do. Really. I love the idea of spreading out the monthly buys. Makes total sense.

  4. Mel gasson says:

    I meal plan on a fortnightly basis cos thats how i get paid (not that it always works in sync!) and also becuase ive started online shopping. I find it handy as it calculates what youre spending and you can also add and remove easy. I start a couple of days before i submit the order and keep adding to it. Then at the end if its too expensive i can go through and remove any ‘not necessities!’

  5. Hi, I was just wondering if there was a trick to downloading things from your blog? I’ve been just a looker trying to find my way around the blog world for a little while and starting feel a bit more confident to comment and try some ideas out now. I too have been some slack in my meal planner and feel inspired by this post of yours to get back into it. I love that you have the shopping list on the same page as the meal planner, I’ve always had them on two so I thought I’d give yours a go however after downloading it I am unable to print it, am I doing something wrong? I’d really aprreciate the free download and would love your help. I am enjoying reading your blog as I too have a pigeon pair and am challenging myself to organise my house into a home this year. Tnanks for all your hard work in putting it together. Tara

  6. This is awesome thank you so much, I am just about to finish the Michelle Bridges 12WBT where they give you the meal plans and i am going to go it alone for a bit and i was about to make my own up, you have just saved me so much trouble… fantastic!!

  7. Awesome write-up. I am a regular visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a long time.

Trackbacks

  1. […] will be organised! With all that in mind I have made a new lunchbox planner to go with my meal plan! […]

  2. […] and can get exactly what you need!  I have posted more about my Meal Plan and Shopping List HERE. […]

  3. […] 1. Writing down a weeks worth of meals onto my meal planning template […]

  4. […] 1.Meal Planning 101 WHY YOU SHOULD MENU/MEAL PLAN?  […]

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