Family meal planning is a great way to save you tons of time and tons of money. In my house, one of my many titles is Chief of Household Management. One way to help manage the household is by creating a monthly menu. By doing so, you are able to set expectations for the family.
By “set expectations,” I mean one of two things. First, your family will know what’s for dinner.
Often when I am “planning on the fly,” i.e. it’s 4:30 and I have no idea what’s for dinner, the conversation goes like this“Do you want, this…? ‘No’… What about this?… ‘No’…. Yeah, I’m not in the mood for that either… ‘Buffalo Wild Wings?/Olgas?/Panera?’ Yeah, let’s do that!
You know what to expect when it’s time for lunch. “Yay! It’s Nacho day,” or “I can’t wait for Pizza Friday’s.” This same concept at home will make your life much easier. Family meal planning will mean less stress for everyone. Get started by downloading my free family meal planning printables.
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Family Meal Planning to Save Money
Secondly, when you “set expectations,” you are going to save money.
When you meal plan, you avoid spending money on the following things:
- impulse purchases (chips, cookies, etc.)
- purchasing more then you need (buying four lbs of beef when you only need two)
- purchasing random ingredients (i.e. ginger because you “might” make a stir fry)
There have been many times I have gone to the grocery store and purchase “what sounds good.” Only to realize when it’s time to make something, I’m missing x, y, or z.
As a result, my purchased ingredients spoil before I get back to the store and I throw them away.
Planning to eat at home and implementing a plan, means less waste and less eating out. Both of which will save lots of money.
Related Post: Stop overspending on groceries, do this!
Family Meal Planning for Success
Successful meal planning takes a little preparation and a lot of commitment. Every family’s meal planning system is going to be a little different, because each family is different. Tailor the menus to work best with your family’s busy schedule. Here are some top tips for meal planning success:
Related Post: Four Mistakes that Sabotage your Meal Planning
Have your recipes accessible
You need more than just your meal planning printables for success. Keeping your recipes accessible eliminates the burden of a Pinterest scavenger hunt when you should be cooking.
When you stumble across a new recipe, print it off. If you prefer paperless, then create a Pinterest Board for your “Meal Planning Menu.”
When using a cookbook recipe, write the cookbook and page number on your monthly planner. If you need some cookbook ideas for quick & easy weeknight dinners, then check out:
The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime – Comfort Classics, Freezer Food, 16-minute Meals, and Other Delicious Ways to Solve Supper
The Weeknight Dinner Cookbook: Simple Family-Friendly Recipes for Everyday Home Cooking
Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less
Get your family involved in the process
Having your family pick their favorite recipes encourages them to be onboard for the new changes. Have them list their favorite meals so they can be incorporated into the monthly menus.
Take inventory of your ingredients
Before making your monthly menu, take inventory of pantry items and kitchen staples. It’s not usually the fresh items that are forgotten when meal planning. It’s usually the pantry items and kitchen staples, such as canned goods, spices and freezer bags. Use the Master Grocery List to highlight items that are getting low.
Stock up on the essentials
Keep a stockpile of everyday items you use for cooking such as freezer bags, tin foil, and plastic containers.
Invest in Kitchen Tools
Invest in quality kitchen tools that will help make your life in the kitchen easier.
My favorite kitchen essentials are a programable slow cooker, my kitchen-aid mixer, and my pancake griddle. Having a slow-cooker with a timer makes it easier to pre-program your meals so you do not over cook them.
This is a great kitchen essential if you will be away from the house. After it finishes its cooking settings, it switches over to the “warm” setting.
A kitchen-aid mixer is the diamond of kitchen counter appliances. It’s the gem that outshines them all. Not only is it great for making frostings, mixes, and butter, but I love to use it to effortlessly shred chicken (place cooked chicken in the bowl and turn it on low).
My pancake griddle is a life saver when I need to cook in larger quantities. I can cook a whole pack of bacon, a stack of pancakes, or multiple chicken quesadillas.
The large size is much better then using a small pan on the stove. I also like to use it for fried rice. These appliances will make your life much easier in the kitchen.
Pretty Family Meal Planning Displays (Optional)
After you have created a weekly menu, you may want to transfer it somewhere pretty(optional).
You can always post your weekly menu, but if yours is like mine it will be full of your plans and notes.
You may like this decorative menu chalkboard here. Have fun with seasonal menus by decorating with colorful chalkboard markers that are available here.
49 Ways to Save Money on Groceries & Food
Living on One Income as a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM)
Four Mistakes that Sabotage your Meal Planning
Join me over coffee with household tips, money savings and holiday fun.