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Time saving, money saving menu planning!

Like most people, I have a reasonably active, pretty filled up life. One of the things that I used to always be behind the 8 ball with was grocery shopping and sorting out what we are having for dinner. The two kinda go together.

One day I came across the concept of Menu planning. Since I started that, I have taken a HUGE amount of stress out of my life by knowing whats for dinner each night, saved a ton of money case we don't need to buy takeaways and we eat a lot healthier - cause we aren't eating so many takeaways.

Menu planning is a wonderful thing!

Here's what I did...

First I get out my diary and note how many meals I need (are we off to a birthday dinner, having visitors, working late, playing sport, going to a concert?) I have a quick look to see how many crock pot, fend for yourself toasted sandwich or baked beans on toast meals the family will need and then I get out a handful of cook books and start browsing. I get paid fortnightly and so I do a fortnightly menu plan and grocery shop and so I am looking for 14 ideas for dinner.

I flick through the books and/or the net (usually make a list of the recipes or meals that appeal.

I make a list of the meals that i think I want to make and also write a a side list of bits and pieces that I'll need to buy if I make these dishes.

Then I start slotting them into the days of the week. Tuesday is basketball night in our house. Whatever is for dinner has to be ready and eaten in about 40 minutes between getting home and getting out the door on time! Its a good night for slow cooker meals, quiches and toasted sandwiches!

Some nights I work late and the family has to fend for themselves - so that's fried egg sandwich night for the boys. Some nights we just do takeaway and be done!

Other nights we have friends over and so that might be a home smoked salmon with lots of wine night!

Once I have put them into the "book of lists" (my personal to do list list book with my lists for crafts, the garden, menus, master shopping list, to do today, bills to pay, etc) I pop the list on to a whiteboard inside the pantry so we all know whats for dinner and I can look inside in the pantry in the morning and defrost the meat, start up the crock pot or make a note to get cream, milk or asparagus or whatever I need for dinner. Much less stress all round!

Then I use the side list of ingredients I made as the basis for the grocery shop for the week. I made a master shopping list (that I keep in my book of lists) and scan it to remind me to grab toothpaste, cling wrap, mustard, flour or whatever I'm running low on. 

Saves me lots of time, stress and money! Give it a go and let me know how you go!

Have a look at Nicoles blog and how she goes about meal planning while youre about it!

Score card:
Green-ness: Stopping yourself from buying things that you forget you have and throwing them out is a pretty green thing to be doing!
Frugal-ness: Only buying what you need and whats in season is a great frugal way to live!Time cost: About 15 minutes once you get into a routine of menu planning as you tend to fall back on old favourites time and time again!
Skill level: Pretty easy really!
Fun -ness: Great fun to plan yummy dinners in advance!


Evi said…
Hi Kara, have been checking out the other people doing the slow living month with Christine and thought I'd award you with a Liebster award so pop over and pick it up sometime.
I like your very informative posts - especially this one! You'd think after 26 years of feeding my family I'd have figured out how to meal plan....but no, I still fly by the seat of my pants!!!
Practical Frog said…
Wow! Thank you Evi! Its a shock and an honor, especially since I haven't been blogging for very long! I really appreciate this award and am quite chuffed! :) I will pop over to your site now! Thanks again! - Kara
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