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menu planning 101.

Let’s begin with menu planning.

But I’m Too Busy!

The key to sticking with a budget is planning your menu ahead of time, before you go grocery shopping.  We typically get weekly circulars on Tuesday night so after the kids are in bed I’ll usually sit down with a glass of wine (did I mention I LOVE this part?) and look through what deals await for the following week.” />

I’m not one to run all over town to save fifty cents a pound on meat so generally I’ll find the best deals at one store based on what our family is in the habit of eating.  I’m not talking “ooh…$1 off captain crunch this week!  I’m headed there.”  More like if there are savings on veggies, bread, lean meats, etc. I’ll plan ahead of time to head to that store (more on where we shop later).

Deal Shop

So last week for instance one local market I usually shop at had chicken breast for $1.77/pound, ground turkey for $2.99/pound and chicken sausage for $2.99/pound.  They also had great deals on lettuce, fruits and veggies that we like so I went there AND built my menu for the week around those main ingredients.  This includes lunches, desserts and baby food when possible (i.e.  apples for $.88/pound so we stocked up and ate them for snacks and had a great apple crisp for dessert with friends).

Get Organized

I think the key here is getting organized about it all.  Find an hour or so during the week, pour yourself a glass of wine and plan your weekly menu.   Take a look at recipes (which is so easy now to do..just plug in your ingredients into a search engine or Epicurious and, voila, your weekly recipes!).  I promise you’ll save money by doing this, especially as you will be less apt to buy additional unneeded items or abandon your weekly menu entirely and opt for takeout.

Coupons?

Ok, here’s my thought on coupons.  If a coupon is for something you would typically buy, clip away.  But if not, there’s no point in stocking up on 37 boxes of fruit roll ups just because you had a coupon.  There was a season where I ordered the Sunday paper for the coupons and signed up for one of these online grocery games only to come home with a car full of toothpaste and tubes of refrigerated cinnamon rolls that I got for next to nothing.  What was the point?

Ok, I think I’ve spoken my piece on the matter…

Go get started menu planning!

Why are you still here?  Go!

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amy Olewiler #

    I menu plan every week and NEVER knew about Epicurious. Thanks for sharing that lovely tidbit! This is going to make life a lot easier! 🙂

    May 30, 2011
  2. melissa #

    I agree, the way I save time & money is to plan dinners around what’s on sale.

    April 23, 2012

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