With six children to feed we have to make sure we’re spending our money appropriately when it comes to grocery shopping. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up dropping $40 just for one trip to a fast food joint for a few burgers. We avoid eating out too often by planning our dinner menu for two-weeks and shopping accordingly.
When I first started menu planning, I found it difficult to come up with 14 different dinner ideas. It took time, but I searched several different sites and found a few ideas we liked. After a while it became easy to rattle off different dinner suggestions and put together a well-rounded two-week menu.
These are a few of my favorite sites for recipes and ideas:
- Southern Plate
- Hillbilly Housewife
- The Happy Housewives Club
- Mennonite Girls Can Cook
- Our Best Bites
- and of course, Pinterest
Once you’ve gleaned a few good suggestions for your dinner menu – grab a notebook or sheet of paper.
I like to keep it simple. There are plenty of cute documents to download and print out for menus – but honestly, I never have time for that. So I just write out a little list on a sheet of notebook paper and stick it on the fridge. We’re pretty class ’round here.
I start out by numbering how many meals I need to plan.
Then I label the days next to the numbers.
And I’ll add the dates. There are a number of different ways to do this – as long as you’re keeping track of the number of meals and the days, you’re good. However you want to compose a list is your business. Just make sure you’re making a list!
Next I’ll fill in any “need-to-know” events coming up. For example, Scott’s dad was planning to visit for dinner one night. We had a birthday coming up, a board meeting for a local charity organization – and there are always sports practices, church events, and other things to consider for our schedule. I list all this out to remind myself what’s going on that particular day and plan a meal according to the schedule. Days that are full of baseball practice, piano lessons and church call for quick and easy meals. Evenings with guests mean I need to make time to prepare a nicer dinner. It’s helpful to put all that on your menu before you plan your meals.
Here’s an example of a recent two-week menu. It’s simple, nothing fancy – but it gets the job done. Once I’ve made my menu list, I’ll work on a grocery list. We shop for a full two weeks to keep us from going to the store too often and spending too much money. Plus once I have the goods on hand for a bunch of tasty dinners, I’m far less likely to order pizza or pick up burgers.
Two weeks worth might be a little daunting to start out. Try a weekly menu. You’ll save money and time with a little planning and enjoy a nice dinner at home with your family.What are some of your favorite dinners? Do you plan a weekly, bi-weekly, or even a monthly menu?