Thursday, March 7, 2013

Meal Planning

I mentioned I was meal planning on Facebook and a friend encouraged me to share my system and I got really inspired.  Since I just wrote out my list and did my to do's I thought now is the best time.  
For those of you waiting for the VHC Dress Tutorial hang in there I am going to push really hard to have it done this weekend! 

Now this routine and my little crazy system was not birthed over night.  There was trial and error before I finally found something that worked for me and something I was able to stick to.  I do have to say it not has not only helped me to keep our grocery bill consistent and down but it saves me a lot of headache during the week wondering what I am going to make for dinner.    

So here goes... Let me introduce you to my grocery list.  I use to print it out every week, but since I got a laminating machine for Christmas I laminated it and use a sharpie to write on it.  Each week I wipe it clean with nail polish remover and start all over again.  It also fits nice and neat in my coupon pouch. 

I tape it to a cabinet wall and keep a Sharpie close by.  If I realize I need something I just write it down right then and there otherwise I will forget.   

On the back, I have a list of all the meals we have on a regular basis [written in pink] categorized by food type [Asian, American, Italian, Mexican].  As you can see I'm not much of a cook.  I usually only try a new recipe once or twice a month but my husband prefers me to stick to what I know.   If a recipe is really good it gets inducted to The List.  So each week, I write what we are going to eat [in no particular order].  I don't like designating a certain meal to a certain day because you never know what kind of day you will have.  I also like to pair meals that use the same meat.  This saves money and waste.  For example I will cook pulled pork and chili verde the same week because then I can buy a huge pork shoulder for both.  In the purple you can see what our main meals are with the sides.  I also add what Saturday morning breakfast we will have.

Then, I run through each meal and think about what I need to make each meal.  I start to fill in what I need from the store on the other side.  This side of the list is written based on the aisles at the grocery store.  I hate hitting the same aisle twice.  I also make note if I need to buy two of a certain item because of a coupon I have.

And sometimes I think, do I have a can of pinto beans already in the cabinet?  Well, to make life a little easier I laminated a piece of paper and wrote an inventory of what is in my cabinet using a white board crayon.  I prefer the crayon to the marker because it doesn't wipe off as easy.  It's silly but it works.  I only have one set of cabinets and this saves me so much time!  I don't have to dig every time I am unsure I have something, plus I am not buying extras of something I already have.  

I do the same on the other side with my seasoning packets.  This Christmas I also got a seasoning organizer.  I love it!  It's a little pricey but has been totally worth it.

And just a quick organizing tip, turn tables are amazing in cabinets.  More kitchen organizing ideas HERE

Once the list is written, I am ready to hit the store with my coupons.  I'll share about couponing another time along with a tutorial for the coupon pouch.  To finish off the madness, I write the weekly menu on my chalk board so I can clean the back of my grocery list.  [This was last week's menu].  

I know it seems like a lot of work and hassle but this system works for me.  I spend one hour every week meal planning and gathering coupons.  I can be in and out of the grocery store in 45 minutes and only make one trip [with a two year old].  In reality it really isn't that much time, not to mention it saves money.  So I encourage you to find a system that works for you!  


  1. Wow! I feel inspired to work out a system of my own! Thanks for sharing

  2. Oh my word... I need to up my game... Thanks for posting this... I am in the trial and error mode, but our system is VERY similar... This is awesome, you are one super mama!!!

    I will be emailing you... I have a few ideas. :)


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