My friend Ashley over at Clay Woman shared some ideas about meal planning and grocery shopping once-a-month for time saving. While I had been doing once-a-week shopping, she spurred me on to spend a few more minutes thinking about it and less time in the grocery store. I found a few things helpful, so I thought I'd share them.
My goals were
1) Not have a house devoid of food or supplies and be asking my husband yet again, "what do you want to eat? I have to order pizza/go shopping."
2) Plan meals that were simple to cook, healthy, low-budget, lasted for multiple meals and tasty.
3) Never go to fix a meal only to find out I had fogotten to buy half of what I needed to fix it!
4) Minimize our overall food budget, both home-cooked and eating-out.
What works for me:
1) I print out these handy calendars from Calendars That Work. You can pay a small fee and get all that you want or go back every few months to get another (or make something similar yourself).
2) I then add three sections to the workspace. One to keep track of money spent on groceries, a second for money spent eating out, and a third for the meals that I will fix (and buy groceries for).
- I start my monthly calendar before the month ends, adding which meals I will make. Lots of these will be replicated from other months.
- When I go grocery shopping, I add my expenses to the calendar and where I spent the money.
- After eating out, I add the location and total cost to the calendar. This helps curb my desire to eat out when I realize how recently we last ate out. (We try to go out for lunch, this is much cheaper and easier to bring along our son as a family outing.)
4) I fix each meal to have left-overs. I aim for 6-8 servings from each meal. This means I typically cook 10-12 times a month! Lunchs are usually leftovers or sandwiches. If you have a husband who won't each leftovers, I have no help for you. Maybe he wants to do half the cooking? All I can say is leftovers are everyones friend, at least the second time. By the fourth time, maybe not. But, make things that freeze well and when you're sick of them, freeze tham and bring them out in a few weeks!