Friday, July 11, 2008

Monthly Planning

I can't remember when I said it, but I mentioned either wanting to try or I ought to do meal planning by the month. It was an unbelievably daunting idea, and Rissa left a comment saying if anyone could do it, I could.

You know what? I decided she was darn right. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, so I started the process of putting together a menu of for the month of August - dinners only.

At first, looking at a blank slate of 31 days to come up with ideas I thought - this is going to be difficult. But here's what I did:

I took 3 of our favorite "cheap" meals and scheduled them twice throughout the month evenly spaced. Then I made every Monday a "soup" night. Mondays in the school year are going to be our homeschool co-op days, so throwing a soup in the crockpot will be perfect. That took care of 1/3 of the month!

I put in homemade pizza twice, since Jake loves it. And I made Thursday night our official grilling night. Since Jake loves to eat grilled food and he's home that night to do the grilling. At that point the month was almost done! So I filled in the rest with some other favorites and some new recipes I've been wanting to try.

I then took stock of my pantry and freezer and saw in my bazillion odds and ends I have a lot of already needed ingredients. I made the list of ingredients that I would need for the month of dinners and are you ready for this?

With being organized and making use of what we already have, our dinners for one month will cost us less than what I usually spend on 1 1/2 weeks worth of groceries. I think that once I add in breakfast, lunch and snacks we will spend 1/2 of what we normally spend per month.

All I have to say to that is... wow wow wow.

Now granted I'm already pulling out a lot of things from the pantry and freezer that we've already paid for, so technically the month of dinners costs more. But it's paying off to do more long term planning.

So here's my plan; at the end of July I will buy all of the goods for the month that will last all of august (canned food, frozen, dry, etc). Then I will only go shopping for the produce/more quickly perishable on a weekly basis.

That way if any of the dinners get canceled, I can keep inventory of the meal ingredients in my pantry (or freezer) and move it to September's schedule.

Do any of you plan by the month? If so, what are your tips?


Mrs. Querido said...

I will follow your progress with great interest. Meal planning is much more budget friendly, but I cannot seem to discipline myself to stick to the plan! I think I suffer from LCS (lazy cook syndrome). There are just some days that I don't want to cook. Got any tips for ? :)

Katie said...

@Mrs. Q - I hear you, on days I don't feel like cooking I do pasta, sandwiches, or pancakes! I decided to start scheduling those meals so that if I want to do a sandwich night I can swap it around the schedule with what I was supposed to make. Does that make sense? :-)

Jennifer said...

I do not plan by the month, but this sounds like a great idea. By doing this I can do one big grocery shop a month, and the rest of the time just get bread, eggs, etc.

Amy Giove said...

I haven't done a meal plan for the month for the stupidest reason. We have so much food! In our building of 4 apartments, everyone moved out but us in the month of June. And they left all their food to us too. It is insane and a blessing. And I think I should make a plan for it all, but I haven't felt a need. =)