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!