My Simple Menu Planning Method

    Have you ever seen that meme the says “ Why do they need to eat dinner every night?”

    I feel this. As moms, I think we all do.

    Cook. Eat. Wash dishes. Repeat. 

    In the majority of most households, moms are the ones responsible for keeping food in constant flow. This includes three square meals a day plus snacks and don’t forget sweets. Throw in the fact that you have to go to the grocery store to get everything, it can becomes super overwhelming. Even the stress of trying to find variety of foods everyone will eat and then finally trying to fit everything you need into your weekly grocery budget. It’s exhausting to say they least. 

    Menu planning is really the only way I’ve been able to stay ahead of the game and keep my budget under control. If you have thought about menu planning but aren’t sure where to start, let me share with you my method.

    First off if you’re a visual person like me, grab a cool menu planner pad and write it all down.

    Next take inventory of what you have in your pantry. This means going through your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry and write down what you have on hand. Knowing what you have on hand can make planning simple. I usually can find one or two meals that only need an item or two to make complete. 

    The next thing I do is ask check with my family to see if there is anything they want to eat for the week. We keep an ongoing list of dinners we really like so when I find myself stuck I can look back for inspiration. I also check the weather and our schedules and make note on the planner. This little trick helps so much. For instance, on rainy days I know that is the perfect day for a hearty soup or chili. 

    And now we’re ready to make a list. I like to shop a week at a time so I only plan a week at a time. Remember to base your meals around what you have in your house. Your money saving goal is to use what you have at home and just shop for fillers. 

    After you have made your menu, make a grocery list. Doing this all at once helps keep your mind fresh and focused. Take 30 seconds to think through your recipe and put what you need on the list. Think about what snacks you need, dessert and fresh items also. 

    I know this probably sounds like a lot; however, if you’re looking to save without cutting coupons this will pay off in the long run. It eliminates random mid-dinner rush grocery store stops that inevitably cost time and money (hello impulse shopper!!) It takes dedication and a little planning, but in the end if you save $50 a week that should worth the hour of time it takes. 

    Pro TIP! As soon as I finish writing my grocery list, I take a picture of it with my phone. Nothing is worse then showing up to the store and forgetting you list or even worse, losing it half way through the trip!

    Do you have any great menu planning tips? I’d love to hear them! I’m always looking for ways to make this journey smoother! 

    Carlie is a divorced mom of five. She moved to Lafayette 22 years ago from a small town in-between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She has four young adult children from her first marriage that ended after 19 years, Christopher, Cara, Clay and Cade. She has a one year old daughter, Poppy Mae with her significant other, Joey. She is a work-at-home mother who is a freelance writer and photographer/owner of Carlie Anne Collective. Organized chaos and tons of lists are her style. Carlie loves to workout, travel, visit with her friends, bike with Poppy Mae in their neighborhood, attend outdoor concerts, eat out at local restaurants, walk aimlessly through stores looking for good deals and swing in her hammock while chatting about her BST addiction with her online friends. She keeps an active Instagram account as a photo journal of her days.


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