How to Menu Plan

Someone has asked me how to plan menus. I can’t say this is how everyone does it, but this is What Works For Me. It really has saved us a lot of money over the past few months. **Click on any picture to make it larger.** I’m also trying to get my menus up for Menu Plan Monday over at Organizing Junkie. And I’m also using this post for “Works for Me Wednesday” over at Rocks in My Dryer. That is an EXCELLENT blog, and if you ever get a chance, you should go read it.

I start with a blank weekly calendar. I got this one out of my Microsoft Excell Templates. Notice how it has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and every day of the week.

Then I take this meal list that Dale and I made up a year or so ago. It has the names of all the meals that we like to make or can make. It also has divisions. The breakfast category, things that are fast and easy to make (basically throw them in an oven for 10 minutes or so), and then the more complicated dinners to make. When you are looking at this, please remember, I have an 8 year old, and a 2 year old.

Then I fill in the blanks. This is an “in-progress” week. We only planned through payday, which you can see written above Tuesday. (As you can see, we are treating the girls on payday. After we wear them out on the McD’s playground, we’re going grocery shopping.) I date everything. I do have some abbreviations that might be hard to understand. “D-mwm” stands for when Dale is at work, and he will either take leftovers or a “microwave meal.” Those days are easy to plan for the girls and I. They will eat just rice or just macaroni. Sometimes, I feel like Dale wants meat at every meal.
This is a completed week. Last week in fact. You can barely see that I mark the meal off when we make it. You can also see where I make corrections, like when I crossed out potato soup and wrote in leftovers (we had a LOT of leftovers). Once my menu is complete, I make my grocery list, which you can see to the right side of the menu.
I double check (or try to) to make sure I don’t have the ingredients already on hand. This helps cut out duplications. When my list is done, I transfer it to a different paper and go grocery shoping.

And that’s how *I* plan my menus. Now, I’m off to finish this week, and see about the next two weeks after that.




9 thoughts on “How to Menu Plan

  1. I have to start doing this – I know it’ll save time and money. You’ve got me all motivated – thank you! I am one of those people who doesn’t mind cooking or even grocery shopping, but thinking about what to do for dinner is the worst task ever.


  2. What a great idea! I’ll have to make my own form and start planning. I’m pretty good about planning for the week (grocery wise), but it would be even easier if I set it up like you do.


  3. Thanks so much for the information! I just set myself up in Excel and can’t wait to use it…with school beginning, it will be a great time to get organized!


  4. I can’t plan menues.I just can’t.When I want special ingredients they might not be available.So I buy vegetables and such, and then make the meals.I know what the children like or not. So that’s easy.I almost never have problems thinking what to eat.


  5. Yes, but some people do have trouble with it. And some people don’t realize it’s really just this simple. That’s why I wrote this particular post.Besides, if you plan your menus, then you can get the special ingredients when you need them.Hugs,Melinda


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