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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Menu Planning 101 : Save Money By Writing a Menu Plan!


Day 1: Coupon Inserts 101
Day 2: Printable Coupons
Day 3: eCoupons
Day 4: Coupon Clipping Services
Day 5: More Ways to Find Coupons
Day 6: How to Organize Your Coupons
Day 7: How to Quickly and Easily Clip Your Coupons
Day 8: How to Purge Expired Coupons
Day 9: Know Your Coupons {What does the fine print mean?}
Day 10: Coupon Rules & Tips Every Couponer Needs To Know
Day 11: Know Your Store's Coupon Policies!
Day 12: Know Coupon Lingo & Abbreviations
Day 13: Stacking Coupons
Day 14: Save Money With Coupons, Know When To Shop
Day 15: Get Organized With a Plan, Before You Hit The Store!
Day 16: Don't Be Brand Loyal
Day 17: Stockpiling Part 1 (What is it?)
Day 18: Stockpiling Tips Part 2
Day 19: Understanding Sales Cycles
Day 20: How to Read a Sales Ad
Day 21: How to Make a Price Book
Day 22: Rock-Bottom Prices & Sales Cycles
Day 23: Finding Coupon Match-Ups and Deals (part 1)
Day 24: Learn How to do Coupon Match-ups (part 2)
Day 25: Menu Planning 101

Many of you might be thinking - "Why is she talking about menu planning when this series is about couponing?"

Well, the two concepts actually go together perfectly, Why?

Because, there is no point in couponing and stockpiling and getting a bunch of things for free or cheap at the grocery store and drug store if you don't have a plan for how you will use them to feed your family each week. If you don't have a plan you can still be overspending on groceries every month.

By planning your meals each week, before you go to the store, you will save a lot of money (even without using coupons!) It is a pretty easy concept, basically you will plan what your family will eat every day and write it down!

Top 3 Reasons Why I Menu Plan....
 
 1. To save money. Not knowing what's for dinner will leave you making more trips to the store, thus you end up spending more money at the Grocery store. Or you end up eating out too much!

2. To be More Organized. I hate the famous question, "What's For Dinner?" So making a Menu Plan eliminates this dreaded question.
3. Eat Well Balanced Meals. To also make sure that we are trying to eat well-balanced meals!

"How do you Make a Menu Plan?"

Here I will explain how I write my weekly menu plan.

Tip #1
First, you will need to write a Master list of everything that your family likes, and write down Meals that you eat most often. And keep this list in a convenient place, like your Home Management Binder.

Tip #2

Every week, I go through my Pantry, Fridge, Freezer, and Stockpile. I note items that we might need, or items that need to be used. This is a beginning step in writing your menu.

Tip #3

Base your weekly menu plan by what's on sale for the week. For example, if Chicken is on sale, then I will include Chicken in as many days on the menu plan that I can. I also only buy produce that is "in season" or on sale. This really helps us to stick with our budget!

Tip #4

This is probably the hardest part for me! Now you'll sit down & write your Menu Plan. When I write my menu plan, I write it based on the 3 tips above, what my family likes, what we already have on hand, and what is on sale that week. If I need some inspiration on putting together a meal, I will look into my Recipe Binder for a good recipe to make. I also Use Online resources to find new recipes to try. Some of my favorite recipes sites include, but are not limited to...

All Recipes

RecipeZaar

Eat Better America

Kraft Foods

Pillsbury

Betty Crocker

Campbell's Kitchen

After you find the recipes, and meals that you want to make, start writing it on your Menu Plan. Then you'll need to go back to your shopping list to add anything else that you need for the recipes. But in order to save the most money, you will need to STICK TO ONLY BUYING WHAT IS ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST!

Tip #5

A Few other resources to help with your Menu Planning. I try to post my menu plan on Mondays. You can also find more idea's by checking Org Junkie's Menu Monday. Hundreds of people link up their menu plans every week.

Free Printable Menu Plans:

*Money Saving Mom Free printable Menu Planners & More!

*Mom Advice - Weekly Menu Planner

*Organized Home - Several Printables

*Org Junkie Printables


You can also get a printable Here.

*If you just type in "Printable Menu Planner" in your Swagbucks toolbar, there are a lot of printables available on the web, these are just a few of my favorites. Or you could make your own!


Do you have any questions about menu planning? Do you have any tips that I missed, that you'd like to share? Please leave a comment below!


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