Are you having a hard time figuring out what to feed your family? Well I have a great method for easy menu planning.
No Plan of Attack
Planning might seem like a lot of work, but I promise it’s worth – and I have a method for easy menu planning. Years ago, I would go nearly empty handed to the grocery store, barring a small list of items we were totally out of. So I would wander the aisles at my grocery store, filling my basket haphazardly with any and all items that were appealing. I’m embarrassed to say how much I spent.
Here in Texas, we have an amazing grocery store: H-E-B. Texans have a strong loyalty to the store because of how much they give back to the public and how well they treat employees. They also have amazing sales. H-E-B does a lot of “buy one get one free” sales as well as well as free items (you buy a meat and they give you the rest of the ingredients free to make a complete meal). They also do something ingenious. They tape all coupons to the item on sale. So as you browse through the store, you seek out items with their bright yellow coupons attached like a scavenger hunt! Therefore, you end up buying a lot more than anticipated! Sly, H-E-B. Sly.
Small amounts add up. Just ask anyone who has bought out of the Target Dollar Spot. That’s why sticking to a list is so important.
Beware of small expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.Benjamin Franklin
Benefits to Menu Planning
- Reduce Spending
- Regular rotation of meals
- Reduce food taking up space in freezer, fridge, and pantry
- Reduce trips to the store
- Order quickly with pick-up or delivery services
Guide to Easy Menu Planning
I recommend doing a weekly shop. However, you can plan your meals on a monthly basis to make it easier and I’m going to show you how – the easy way!
I recommend category planning. This is a regular, rotating schedule of cuisine types. For example, I save crochkpot or Insta-pot meals for Mondays since they are always very busy for us. Tuesday’s are for Mexican (Taco Tuesday) or any other international cuisine you want. Wednesdays are reserved for Italian or pasta based dishes. Thursday my husband often comes home late, so I do a casserole, one-pot meal, or sheet pan dinner. We often go out on Fridays, if you have a night out, you can simply omit a category that week. Saturdays I keep really simple (hot dogs, pizza, etc) and easy. Soup is also a favorite of mine, especially during the fall and winter. I love having a traditional Sunday meal. Since I’m from the South, it’s normally Southern Comfort Food or a Cajun dish. You pick the category types.
Using this method, you can put together a whole month of menu planning in just a few minutes. I’ve created a sample menu plan in pdf format to give you an idea. You can download it here
Tips to Help
- Save past menu plans. When you don’t have time to plan, just redo an old week
- Make a list of all the dishes you know, then choose from that every week
- Create meal plans around items you already have on hand to save money
- Sometimes using online ordering can help you curb impulse buys
Happy Planner has some cute meal planning sheets and extension packs to help you get organized. If you don’ know about Happy Planner, take a look at my blog post, How Happy Planner Changed My Life.
If you like a cheaper, simple, more sleek look, I’ve made a menu planner that can be printed as many times as you need (and you never have to buy again). You can purchase it through my shop here on the blog or you can purchase from my Etsy shop.
I hope you like my tips for easy menu planning. In the comments below, I’d love to hear what things you do to make grocery shopping easier.