Meal planning – a review

About 11 months ago there was a post in a facebook group that I’m in that asked how much people were spending on groceries. I estimated the amount to be about $150 a week. Then I sat down, downloaded my bank statement in .csv format and sorted it by where I was spending my money. It was far more than that. And I admit, I was shocked.

Where was I going wrong? I always wrote a list. Always planned what we would have for dinner! The rest didn’t really matter, did it?

I shopped a few times a week, so what?

And I guess, we did throw out a lot of food….

The freezer was also always stocked right up and we didn’t use what was in there…

So I formulated a plan, which is where “menu planning for busy people” was born. I didn’t come up with it all by myself. A friend of mine already planned for a month at a time, and I had the “table tucker” book, this was just an extension of the two. It’s a minimalist method to only buy what you need, to save money with less waste, and some bulk buys where appropriate.

The first time I planned was about 11 months ago, and it took me probably a week. I won’t deny that this is far too long. I’ve just finished my new summer menu (so my 5th menu – the first go always needs work 😜) and it took me approximately 4 hours. That’s inclusive of:

– deciding what meals to cook

– sourcing recipes

– typing up recipes

– typing up shopping lists

All that was left was to hit print and pop them into a folder. Now anyone can do the shop and anyone can cook!

I now have 4 x 4 weeks worth of menu plans that I’ll use for the next year. Each year I’ll probably add a few more weeks for variety. Never have we eaten so well!

It’s hard work to begin with, but well worth it, these are the top 5 reasons I love it:

  1. Saves so much time! It’s all done.
  2. Less repetitive meals.
  3. Saves money because as I buy the menu 3 times I get to know prices, I stick to my list, less waste, less shopping trips. Further to this, I know what I need for the next 3 months so I can buy in bulk if there’s a special on.
  4. Get to try new things.
  5. Anyone can shop or cook because it’s all in one easy to access folder.

I’ll definitely continue using and refining this method as it works so well for our family. And I’d love to know your experiences using it too!

What struggles do you face when meal planning? Let me know in the comments, or get in touch on my contact page.

Can I help YOU plan your next menu? Let me know!

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4 thoughts on “Meal planning – a review

  1. I’m going to have to go back and read the rest of your past articles, I was taking a break for awhile and missed some of them. I’ve always been very good at budgeting and meal planning; I have the natural instinct AND it was necessary. As a young mother, my food budget was very slim. I didn’t realize that most everyone else didn’t do it lol. You have some very good and practical information in your posts. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

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