If you are new to meal planning, here is everything you need to know from the beginning. I have been menu planning for years, and it has become second nature to me. I can’t wait to share my secrets with you! These are the exact steps I follow in making a menu plan, which is why I call in menu planning 101.
(this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you)
As I was writing this blog post, I realized there really is a lot of information here. Rather than overwhelm you all at once, I decided I would divide it into two separate posts. That way, you can digest the first part before getting thrust into the nuts and bolts.
This post covers the first step I take in making the menu plan, but it is a rather detailed step. Read about this step today, and then come back tomorrow for the following steps I take in creating the menu plan.
Making a menu plan has become in invaluable tool to me in many ways. It took me some time to see the value. At first I just felt I was wasting too much time I didn’t have, but it has become a learned skill, and it has also changed along the way to become as efficient as I can possibly make it be in my home.
1. When making a menu plan, the first thing I do is take into account the foods I already have on hand
This avoids things going bad, or spending money unnecessarily since I can often make a meal out of at least one thing that I already have on hand.
2. The next thing I do is create my shopping list for the week based on the best match ups for the stores I shop at in my area
I did not do this for a long time as I just making my meal plans based on what I wanted to make, but then I ended up with things I bought from the store that needed to be used, which sent my menu plan out the window at times. Then, making the menu plan became a waste of time, and I don’t have much of that to waste.
To find the deals in your area, you can do an easy google search for something like “coupon sites for (insert the name of your city or region),” and I’m sure you will be able to find something in your area, as long as there is something in your area.
3. After making my shopping list, I know what I will have on hand and then build my menu plan around these items first
For instance, if eggs are on sale this week, I would make sure we have breakfast for dinner one night this week. If fresh beans were on sale (like they were for me this past week) I will plan on having these as a side item twice this week and just find two different ways to prepare them.
4. Once I have my sale items plugged into various meals, I then continue to go through recipes I have or search for something I want to make, and then add any needed items to my list in order to complete these meals
Although I have only completed my shopping list at this point, it is an integral one to maintaining a frugal lifestyle.
Come back tomorrow for the remaining steps!
Looking for an easier way to meal plan? If you’ve got an hour, you’ll have 1o meals in your freezer! Check it out by clicking on the graphic below!