This is an antique kitchen scale with a blue piggy bank on it.

Menu Planning

This is an antique kitchen scale with a blue piggy bank on it.
$$$ Weighty $$$

Ross and I had a big Talk not too terribly long ago. We talked about Money, about how we have some and how we’d like to have some more of it, and how the stuff we do have needs to be tracked carefully. We took a giant big step and got a JOINT ACCOUNT! which is probably small potatoes to most of you but this is the first time in the 10+ years we have been together (other than a failed attempt a few years ago that was basically an account for me that Ross would give me cheques to deposit into) that we have a joint account.

So, I also signed us up for mint.com. Have you heard of this site? It is now owned by Intuit (who owns Quick Books, who I dislike intensely) but comes highly recommended by lots of people like the Globe and Mail and the National Post and all sorts of other money-centric sites. Anyway, you add all your accounts (including things like mortgages and stuff) and it tracks your expenses and you can set budgets and blah blah blah. It has an iPhone and an Android app. So, we have been rigorously monitoring our spending and HOLY HANNAH we spend a lot of money on groceries.

I know many people swear by menu planning as a way to reduce the cost of your food. So, Ross and I are going to give it a shot. It’s hard to know exactly what a family like us should be spending on groceries in a month… I googled it to see and got a huge range from $500-$1000. There’s always outliers who claim they can feed their family for $200 a month but I know that’s not realistic. So, my goal is about $200 less than what we’re currently spending.

So we sat down and planned our week of food and here is what we are doing:

  • Sunday: we had BBQ hamburgers and salad
  • Tonight: we are having curry prawns on rice – we’re using up some sweet potatoes and a jarred curry sauce for this one
  • Tomorrow: I’m out for a late afternoon meeting and then am meeting up with some friends, so I will grab some quick sushi and Ross and Kale are going to have falafels, using up some leftover pitas.
  • Wednesday: Will be one of our big family meal nights, so BBQ chicken with Greek salad and new potatoes
  • Thursday: I’m at the market so Ross and Kale will have pasta while I grab something from the market
  • Friday: we have a staff BBQ to go to so I am OFF THE HOOK!
  • Saturday: we’ll have a family favourite – pizza!
So this month, I’m committing to planning our meals every Saturday morning (and grocery shopping Saturday or Sunday) to see if we can reduce our bills. I’ll check in again at the end of August and let you know how it goes. I’ll probably also share my meal plans, just for fun.
What about you? Do you meal plan? Do you think it has saved you? What is your process? Do you have any tools you’d recommend to make it easy to stick to?
7 years ago

5 Comments

  1. I seem to go on again off again with the meal planning. I think it great, but I get thrown off and go off plan and get out of the habit.

    I try to build flexibility into my meal plan- I more write a list of the meals I can make with the foods we have on hand. Then when I shop, I buy protien first and then stuff I need to turn the protien into meals. When I do it it works. And yeah, probably saves money.

    Best of luck with it. Let me know if you learn any good tricks.

  2. All the best with the menu planning. I started doing it in the Fall last year, mainly as a way of saving my sanity but also as a way of getting back on budget. I plan a month’s meals in advance, timing it to take advantage of Safeway’s customer appreciation 10% discount. I try to buy all our dry goods, non-perishables, and household supplies in one massive shop then make smaller trips for fruit, veggies etc through the month. It means we eat more veggies than meat, and also I cook big/freeze half. So far it’s working though I do hate the actual planning bit.
    As for budget, nope- not using anything. I think it’s going to be me that bites the bullet and imposes a budget as we also need to be spending less/saving more. It will make me feel like the mean old bitch in the house but it does need to be done/imposed/enforced.

  3. My roommate and I have tried and tried again to menu plan and we fail! Mostly because when I get back from work, I’m exhausted and don’t want to cook whatever was planned because I have a change in attitude/craving/heart whatever you call it. 🙁

    Have any suggestions on how to keep up with the game plan?

    L

    1. The only thing I can suggest is don’t plan stuff that’s too hard! Nothing wrong with planning hotdogs or a salad. Menu planning for me is using what I have and staying on track, but it’s certainly not gourmet planning. Does that help?

  4. I started doing this in 2011. Mostly so that I could involve my Ultra Super Picky Children in the planning and so that they could be exposed to more foods.

    More or less, it works well. If you can make the plan, the list, and do the shopping within a day, that’s good. I find if I get off track on *one* of those things, the whole week is shot to hell.

    And sometimes, I don’t feel like fighting with the kids about whatever so they eat noodles/meatballs and I have nachos. I call it ‘wild card night.’ Cuz it’s so wild.

    But yes, saving money, definitely. Doing the big shop at Superstore will help too, as long as you stay welllll away from the $5 t-shirts.

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