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Do you plan menus?

I never have before, but I am attempting it. I lost my job, and we need to save money. Usually I forget to plan a meal for the day at all, and we end up eating out (which adds up). So I have planned meals out for everyday for the next 2 weeks (going to the grocery store tomorrow). Planned a few days for left overs. Menu planning is sure time consuming, first I have to decide what we are going to eat, then have to go through the recipe and the kitchen to see what I need to actually buy for the recipes.

How else do you have save money shopping for a family of 4? I do coupons, but they usually aren't that much of a help. I also plan on going to WIC if I can't find a job in the next couple weeks. (I have applied for about 6 or 7, but haven't heard anything yet).


Asked by AF4life at 11:37 PM on Sep. 28, 2013 in Food & Drink

Level 44 (185,714 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • I do! Saves SO much money that way. I don't do it like 'Monday we will have this and Tuesday we will have that' though. I plan out 7 meals and as I make then I cross it off the list. Then there are options and I know I have everything in the house for those options. It saves on groceries because I am not going through picking up random things and then still having to go back to the store to pick up one or two more things every other night so I can complete a meal.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 11:46 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • I try. I find simple recipes are easier to keep up with. Crock pot things.

    Answer by Izsarejman at 11:47 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • Another thing to consider for saving money at the grocery store is to give up meat more than one night a week. We eat only eat meat 2-3 times a week. I make up for it with beans, cheese and eggs for protein. A nice quiche with salad is a delicious, filling and very cheap dinner.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 11:48 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • Aww AF, I'm sorry you lost your job.
    Since the boys have moved out, I don't plan meals any more.
    When they were home, I just made sure I had a different meat for at least 3 nights. Chicken, pork and beef for example.
    I always made enough for leftovers so that helped.

    Answer by KTElite at 11:48 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • I ALWAYS plan a menu, it gets easier. It's not like I write down
    Tuesday-chicken etc
    I just make up a meal plan for 1-2 weeks and then go from there.. It's simplest if you have your list next to you when you look for recipes, so write down all the ingredients, then go to the pantry and cross off anything you already have (or if you know you have it you can skip writing it down) its so much easier if you know you're going to have chicken like 3 times, then you can buy chicken in bulk which is cheaper and then separate them and freeze accordingly.

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 11:53 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • Oh and AF sorry about your job and we are freaking out about midmonth pay as well!

    Answer by cassie_kellison at 11:54 PM on Sep. 28, 2013

  • I make a list of approx 2-3 weeks worth of dinner ideas, and then we pick and choose each day what sounds good from that. It's cheaper and much easier making sure I have at least the ingredients for those meals on hand at all times.

    Answer by Ginger0104 at 12:01 AM on Sep. 29, 2013

  • If giving up meat for certain meals isn't practical in your household, consider cutting back the amount of meat you use for each meal. Especially if you're cooking with ground beef or sausage or shredded chicken or turkey. Since our budget has tightened up in the last year or so, I've cut down a pound of ground beef in a recipe to somewhere between half a pound and two thirds, less if it's in chili or spaghetti sauce or something that can hold a lot of veggies. Nobody has even noticed. Recipes that use rice, pasta, polenta, stuffing, potatoes, and other carbs tend to stretch a bit further. Not the healthiest for everyday meals, but you do what you have to do. I've also taken to making strata fairly regularly because bread is inexpensive. I don't plan what day to have each food because there are too many variables--who works late, who has homework, when my deadlines are--but I know what I'll fix each week before I shop.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:01 AM on Sep. 29, 2013

  • I do not. I should and always say that I will, but it never seems to happen. Maybe this post will inspire me to do it this week.

    To save money I do things like buy a whole chicken (now I buy two because my kids are bigger) and one night have roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots. Then I shred all of the left over chicken and use it for other meals... and chickens are cheap. I usually make pot pies or chicken noodle soup with the leftover chicken. The left overs make three pot pies. So that is four meals with two chickens. I usually serve one of the pot pies and freeze the other two, which I love because then I don't have to cook two nights, just pull one out of the freezer and stick it in the oven.
    I will also buy a 5lb chub of ground beef and make meatballs with two lbs. And just brown the rest with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. And I can season it for other meals later. I freeze it in one meal portions.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 1:03 AM on Sep. 29, 2013

  • Have you considered making your own cleaning supplies?

    Answer by But_Mommie at 12:12 AM on Sep. 29, 2013