monthly meal planning - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 04-24-2009, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Total noob here and am very interested in learning how to have a monthly meal plan. We are both students and have very limited income at the moment, so the purpose would be to reduce the grocery bill. I've noticed it helps a lot when I plan just a week's worth of food, but it's not very flexible with only a week's worth of ingredients and the prospect of a weekly comprehensive grocery store trip is pretty, uh, laziness-inducing Unfortunately, going every day or every few days for just immediate needs really adds up.
So how do you do it? I was thinking something like writing down a list of potential meals for the month, buying the dry/canned ingredients/meat for the freezer once a month, and veggies/dairy once a week. That way we could be more flexible with meals.
Does this work for people? Do you find you need to plan the meals per day? Does it actually save time and money or is weekly planning better?
I would very much appreciate any insights/advice/experiences anybody has about monthly meal planning!

Me treehugger.gif and DH caffix.gif and sweet baby DD heartbeat.gif born 08/2011.

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#2 of 3 Old 04-24-2009, 06:31 PM
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I would love to find out how you all do this as well! We just got a membership to Costco to help cut our costs. I've been planning 2 weeks worth of meals, and it's been working okay... I still end up going to the grocery store for extras though, usually once a week.

It works out okay to freeze the meats, and buy canned/jars or stuff, but I have a hard time with the produce. By the end of the two weeks I'm dying for some fresh fruit!! I've only been doing this for a few months now. It does take me a little bit of time to get my grocery list prepared/meals for the week!! However, it's such a relief to have everything planned out ahead of time and not have to wonder what to make for dinner everyday!!

One of the things that helps us tremendously is we have written down every food we buy as we're shopping - we go aisle by aisle. We have it typed up in a database so that when it's time to shop we can print out a list and cross off what we don't need. It makes shopping a lot easier to zip through the aisles and know where everything is located.
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#3 of 3 Old 04-24-2009, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post
I was thinking something like writing down a list of potential meals for the month, buying the dry/canned ingredients/meat for the freezer once a month, and veggies/dairy once a week.
That is basically what I do. I make my menu for a month that way I can go thru the flyers and see what is cheapest where. I then do my main grocery shop monthly, and I recheck at our bi-weekly payday to see if there are any deals in the flyer that week that are very common things we use. If not, I dont' go and if I do I stick to my list as that payday is usually the one we pay rent out of so I have less money to go 'round.

I then shop weekly for veggies/fruit/milk. I tend to go to the city for my monthly big shop, and I can shop local for the veggies/fruit/milk.

I do stick to my budget very closely when I do this, and I really notice that our incidental shopping has DRASTICALLY reduced!

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