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Save Money on Your Grocery Bill - Step 1-Menu Planning

Updated on February 15, 2011

I love shopping. Even grocery shopping. But shopping is a game for me. I want to get the absolute most stuff for the absolute least amount of money. And I want everyone else to do it, too. I am that annoying person behind you at Wally World, telling the cashier that they should price-match your pineapple (because you could save 80¢!). I am that lady in front of you that has to have the CSM come over because I'm using just too many coupons for the register to handle. I am that woman who leaves coupons all over the place, just hoping someone can use them... It is a game. It is fun.

I have found that in order to successfully grocery shop and get the best deals, there has to be a menu. If there is a menu in place, there is no questioning when it is time to make the imperative shopping list. I mean, how can you make a shopping list if you don't know what you are cooking? The base of saving money on your grocery bill, the base of being organized at mealtime, and the base of being prepared is to have a menu as a guide.

My menu

My menu
My menu

But how should I start a menu

It's good to start with a grid. I use a planning calendar (the Mom's Got It Together calendar), and instead of entering names into the rows, I enter Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks. So you have columns of days, and rows of meals, and then start planning away.

Your chart can be as simple or as complex as you like. Just do it. Don't wait until you've perfected the perfect menu. If you've been meaning to do it and putting it off, just draw the thing on a legal pad and have at it!

You can be creative! For years, we had Muffin Monday, Toast Tuesday, Waffle Wednesday... you get the picture. I never had to even think about breakfast. It got old after a while, so now I change it up a bit.

If you have picky eaters and your family only has a few things that they like to eat, this whole thing should be a snap! Just plan out menus covering all the things you like to eat, and copy them. This is a great plan if both parents work outside the home, too, because it helps to simplify things.

I like to try new recipes, so I try to schedule one new recipe a week. And if you need ideas for things to cook, guess where the absolute best place to look is.... did you guess? The answer is....THE WEEKLY SALES ADS! This is the best way to plan your menu!

And don't forget to use up your leftovers in recipes. We typically have a leftover night on the menu, but if not, I like to try to use up the leftovers in other recipes. Like Adam Sandler says in his Lunchlady Land , "Yesterday's meatloaf is today's sloppy joe!"

 
Sunday
Monday
Breakfast
Hot cereal
Honey Muffins
Lunch
Grilled Cheese Sammies
Fish Sticks
Dinner
Red Beans & Rice
Chicken, rice, green beans
Grid example

How far in advance you plan is up to you.  I do it weekly, and use the sales ads to make sure I get the most for my money.  

Now work on your

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    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR

      cheapsk8chick 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for the comments DJLyons & rpalulis. I'm not liking the increase in grocery prices right now. Can't wait 'til those gas prices come back down!

    • rpalulis profile image

      rpalulis 

      7 years ago from NY

      Now this is something I need to really work on improving. I can't get over how much money I spend every time I go grocery shopping. Seems like I keep buying less and spending more, I can't wait for summer to start the garden again. Menu planning is an excellent way to save money on your next grocery bill. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ask_DJ_Lyons profile image

      Ask_DJ_Lyons 

      7 years ago from Mosheim, Tennessee

      You made some great points! Thanks for sharing!

    • cheapsk8chick profile imageAUTHOR

      cheapsk8chick 

      7 years ago

      Thanks! wannabwestern, the next installment will be here soon!

      crescentaurora1 I've used the planning calendar for three years now, and it has been a great resource for when I am stumped trying to make new menus. I can flip back through the calendars and it's like, "hey! I remember that! Everyone liked that!"

    • crescentaurora1 profile image

      crescentaurora1 

      7 years ago from Alameda, CA

      This is a great hub, planning a menu has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. Love your planning calender idea!

    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 

      7 years ago from Iowa

      This is just what I needed to read today! I can't wait to read the next installment!

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