How do we save money on food and groceries? Simple, by preparing menu plans every week.
It may sound time consuming and daunting but it really is not. In fact, it saves us a lot of money by buying only what we need, and avoids us wasting unnecessary grocery items that we’ll either end up not cooking, or tossing them in the garbage. In addition, not only do we save money but we also save a lot of time by not spending so much time in the grocery store or making extra grocery trips to decide what’s for dinner. Knowing ahead of time what to cook makes it more harmonious and fun for the whole family. I would say that menu planning alone keeps marriage more successful!
Here are other advantages of planning of meals ahead and why I am a big proponent of it:
– Menu planning avoids wasting food.
– Menu planning allows us to use most of the things we have in the pantry. Before, we didn’t even know what’s in the pantry and things end up expired because we never knew we had them.
– Menu planning allows us to use most of the things inside our fridge.
– Menu planning allows us to keep fresh items in the pantry every week.
– Menu planning prevents us from buying things that we don’t need or end up not using.
– Menu planning saves us extra trips to the grocery store for the things we forget or lack in the recipes. It saves us gas and again, time.
– Menu planning promotes balanced meals and healthy eating. For example, today veggies, tomorrow chicken, next day pasta, etc.
– With menu planning, we are more aware of the food we eat.
– With menu planning we avoid repeating the same dishes every week. We were able to cook different dishes for 6 months without repeating any meals! The first time we repeated was not because we ran out of ideas but because we missed how good that food was.
– Menu planning encourages family involvement. Me and my husband take turns creating the menu plans so we are both involved in choosing what the family will eat. This avoids having someone not eat because someone doesn’t like the food that was prepared for dinner.
– Menu planning introduces us to new and undiscovered dishes we never thought we could do at home. We get to learn new dishes and eat restaurant-style food. It improves our cooking skills and we get to expand our culinary knowledge.
– Menu planning supports eating meals together because you look forward to eating and tasting the food together instead of buying food outside.
How do I make my menu plans?
1. I use a binder and collect all the recipes the family like.
2. I subscribe to Allrecipes.com to manage our weekly meal plan and that takes care of everything!
Allrecipes.com offer free recipes online but their PRO version offers menu planning and that’s what we’ve been using for almost two years. Their menu plan tool is very simple and easy to use. If you know how to “drag and drop” then you’re ready to go. Their website automatically separates the grocery list and the cooking instructions for you. All you have to do is pick and choose your dish and take the other portion with you to the grocery. You can also adjust the serving and search all kinds of recipes. You’ll practically never run out of ideas. We managed to do this and not repeat dinner for straight 6 months! The only time we repeat it was not because we ran out of ideas but because we already missed some of the old dishes we cooked! This is life changing.