I have tried and read so many ways to menu plan and grocery shop. I started doing the monthly thing, (I read so many great things about this), but I felt like by the end of the month, the meals I had planned for I just really didn’t want and I had found new recipes I wanted to try. I also found that I would run out of stuff such as eggs, milk, and produce so I had to go to the store anyway. Also, I couldn’t see paying a huge amount in one trip (even though I could spend $500 in groceries in a month, doing this over a month’s time seemed to me a little easier to do). Don’t get me wrong, if this works for you that’s awesome.
Next I tried every other week. This was great for me for D and I until Little Fella came along. Also, I like that grocery shopping gives me something to do to get out of the house each week.
So I went to a weekly menu and grocery shopping. Here is what I do:
First I grab my homemade recipe book. This is a three-ring binder that I made of my families favorite recipes. (Most of the recipes I have found on the internet, printed them off and put them in plastic sleeves and some are recipes that I have made myself or are handed down from family and friends.) I love my recipe book, because it is easy to pick recipes that I know my family will love. I will choose about five or six recipes from this book for my lunch and suppers. Next, I will add some meals that aren’t found in recipes books ie. grilled chicken, steaks, hamburgers. I try to grill out a few times a week, unless it is a really cold week, then its to the oven we go. I do, always try to add a new recipe or two to my menu. This helps with not getting into a slump and making the same things each week.
After I have picked out all my recipes I write them down on my homemade Menu. I don’t do a daily menu (just because I might change my mind or not have enough time to make one meal) but I do choose seven or eight meals to make for supper and about four or five meals to make for lunch.
Next, I go through each recipe and look at all the ingredients in the recipe. I write down any ingredient I don’t have on my shopping list. This makes it easy when you go to the store not to over buy.
In my pantry, I have a huge chalkboard. The soul purpose for this is for my family and me to write down things we are out of. I write down anything that is one the chalk board and then I erase it so I don’t purchase the same thing, two weeks in a row.
Next I go through my store sales flyer. Mine comes out on Wednesday’s so I try to go get my menu planned Wednesday so I can go grocery shopping on Thursday. I look through each page and write down anything that is on sale that we use. Once I have gone through the sale ads, I go through my coupon book and see if I have any coupons that I need to use, or on my list.
My coupon book is a flexible three-ring binder that has baseball card sleeves. I use each page as a new day, (instead of by category) so I know exactly when a coupon expires. After I have pulled them, I just paperclip them together, write which store I’m going to use them at, and stick them in the front of the binder in a zippered pouch. I do take my binder with me, just in case I find something that is on sale that I missed or not advertised I can use my coupon to help save even more money.
Next I turn to my Ibotta account. Ibotta is a coupon app that you earn money back from selected items that you have purchased in the store. I love this app, and check it daily. In over a year, I have received over $500.00 back from Ibotta. To sign up, click here.
I know this system sounds tedious, but I have found that I waste less food and eat at home more often. I have really enjoyed keeping up this method and it has helped me save money in the long run.