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Menu Planning

menuplanningI know…PLANNING sounds tedious. Sometimes PLANNING feels tedious but, PLANNING will help cut your grocery budget significantly.

Once you figure out how to PLAN your Couponing, you will soon see the rewards of your efforts. PLANNING will help cut your grocery budget and PLANNING will take the “I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” out of your evening and PLANNING your menu cuts down on small frequent trips to the store and dining out at the last minute – both of which add up quickly and can break a tight budget.

“So where do I start?”

Here are a few tips to PLANNING your menu…

1. Check your pantry and freezer.

Take note of what you already have. Did you stock up on a sale item last week? Do you have loads of pasta stashed away? Is there produce about to go bad in your fridge?

Use all this food first. Sometimes this requires you to be creative – which can be fun or a complete failure. Either way it usually gets a laugh.

I often use this book to help me ‘use-up’ some of the produce and other random things I find in the pantry or freezer…and it’s good for you too!

2. Write down meals you have almost all the ingredients for.

While looking through your kitchen, jot down the few ingredients you need to make some of your meals. Sometimes all I need is a certain vegetable or some chicken broth to make a meal work. So that meal goes on the list.

3. Look through your grocery store’s weekly ads- in the paper or online.

Find out what is on sale and what you have coupons for. Then, plan your meals accordingly. This works especially well with meats and produce.

Some stores have shopping lists you can develop on-line and then print off from their websites. I tend to like these. As I look through the ads I just click on the things I am going to buy, and then I print the list out. I add a few handwritten items and I am ready to go.

Go here and input your zip code to search the weekly Kroger Ads.

Go here and input your zip code to search the weekly Walgreen Ads.

4. Assign each day a meal.

This is not required but it helps my days immensely. THE HUSBAND and I do weekly planning every Sunday evening. This helps me know when he will be here for dinner, what nights we need a quick meal and what nights we might be entertaining. Assigning each day a meal takes all the thinking out of dinner. I know what meat to thaw the night before, what to throw in the crock pot in the morning or to make sure to have enough peanut butter and jelly.

5. Make your list.

Now make your list, stick it in your labeled envelopes with all the coupons you are going to use, and you are ready to save some money.

Check out my other posts on Menu Planning.