This week, for Finding Freedom Friday at Cents To Get Debt Free, we are sharing our menu planning basics. Because menu planning is a subject so near and dear to my heart, I just had to participate.
- How many weeks you plan at a time. I plan for a month at a time with a master meal plan. However, I don’t plan specific meals for specific days. After the monthly meal plan is created, and after we have done our grocery shopping for the month, I plan individual weekly menus. These weekly plans correspond with the monthly plan for the most part. I will admit that we don’t always stick to the exact plan because I need variety in the kitchen.
- How do you keep track of it all? I use a master monthly plan and a master monthly grocery list. The monthly menu plan then stays on top of our microwave throughout the month and I use it to create my weekly plans. Usually the weekly plans are written out in a notebook and then transferred to my other blog for Menu Plan Monday.
- How do you decide what to eat? As I said, I like variety in the kitchen. I try to rotate our meals so that we eat something different at every meal on a weekly basis. We definitely will repeat meals throughout the month, especially breakfasts and lunches. I do some batch freezer cooking at the beginning of each month so I always make sure I plan for at least 6 dinners and 12 breakfasts that can be frozen. Even with all the planning, I rarely stick to the plan as it is written. I shop and cook in such a way that I can make lots of different meals from the same basic ingredients.
- How has it helped you? Menu planning like this has been a huge help! It allows us to stay at or below our monthly budget of $350. It has also helped nudge me into freezer cooking and I know enjoy being able to take several meals out of the freezer throughout the month. Even without having a stand-alone freezer, I am able to fill it enough that we can make it through a whole month with just one big grocery trip.