A Guide to Saving Your Money & Your Sanity!
It took me a while (I'm a slow learner) but I finally figured out that by planning my meals, I save money and I help preserve the modicum of sanity I still have. Many people have asked me how I do it, so here are the steps involved in planning a menu and creating a master shopping list. (Actually, the second part has been done for you!) Please post questions, if you have them.
Step 1: List Your Family's Favorite Meals
Step 2: Plan Two (or Four) Weeks of
Step 3: Gather Your Recipes & Create a Shopping List
I was tired of making a list every time I went shopping, and I always forgot something, so I created a master shopping list. It had everything needed for our meals, in addition to household items we regularly purchased. It was handy as I planned my menu, because I could just check off the items we needed without having to write it all out every time. At the end of this post, I have included a free, printable Master Shopping List if you want to use it. If you do not want to use a master list, you can create a list from the meals you just chose for your menu.
Example: Our Favorite Meals
Oatmeal with Raisins and Fried Ham
French Toast with nitrate-free bacon and Orange slices
Cold Cereal and Bacon
Breakfast Burritos (eggs, salsa, cheese, bacon or sausage in a tortilla.
Breakfast sandwiches – Wholegrain English muffin, egg, ham and cheese.
Bagel and Cream Cheese with Fresh Fruit
Wholegrain Pancakes, turkey sausage and Fresh Fruit
Breakfast Smoothie, made with soy and whey protein powder and fresh or frozen fruit.
Left-Overs from Dinner
Whole Wheat Pita Bread Pizzas (pepperoni or Hawaiian)
Turkey Wraps with lettuce and tomato
Soup & Quesadillas or Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Hot Dogs and Fruit Salad
Club or Hero Sandwiches and carrot sticks
Turkey Kielbasa, Tater Tots and Fruit
Egg Salad or Tuna Pita Pockets and apple slices
Hot Dogs and orange wedges
Main-Course Salad with protein, like Cobb or chef salad.
Whole Grain Crackers, Salami and Cheese with Sliced Apples
Whole Wheat Pita Chips and Hummus with Canned Pineapple
Graham Crackers with Cream Cheese & Jam
Tortilla Chips and Salsa
Whole-Grain Cheese-Its, Carrots or Snap Peas and Ranch Dressing
Almonds and apple sauce or grapes
Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta and Sauteed Veggies
- BBQ Chicken (or fish!) with Potato Salad & Green Beans
- Chinese Chicken Salad and pot stickers.
- Orange Chicken, Rice & Broccoli
- Fried Chicken with Steak Fries (frozen) and Steamed Broccoli
- Shredded Chicken (or fish) Tacos with the works
- Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce and Salad
- Chicken (and Shrimp) Jambalaya with Rice (Veggies are in the Jambalaya)
- Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli
- Turkey Kielbasa in Red Beans and Rice with Cucumber & Tomato vinaigrette
- Turkey Breast Roast with Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
- Grilled Turkey
& Cheese Sandwiches, Soup and Canned Fruit
- French Dip Sandwiches au Jus & Cucumber Vinaigrette
- Lasagna (frozen) and Green Salad
- Hamburgers with Whole Wheat Buns and Fresh Fruit Salad
- Beef Stir Fry with Green Beans and Rice
- Round Roast with Red Creamer Potatoes & Spinach Salad
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Cucumber Vinaigrette
- Meat Loaf with Steamed Broccoli and Rice
- London Broil and
Baked Potatoes with Sautéed Zucchini & Yellow
- Beef and Bean Burritos in whole grain tortillas with the works!
- Chili Dogs (or dogs & beans) & Salad
- Beef Stroganoff,
noodles and steamed broccoli
- Vegetarian Chili, topped with cheese and onions (The veggies are in the chili) Served with Whole Grain Crackers or Rice
- Build-Your-Own Potato with the works (Anything goes here!)
Parmesan and Garlic Bread
FREE Resources: Menu Planners & Shopping Lists
Blank Menu Planner
Blank Grocery List Template (PDF)
Homeschool Planner & Menu Planner in One!
Menu Planner with To Do/Chore List
Master Shopping List (PDF)
Glueten-Free Shopping List (PDF)
Lactose-Free Shopping List (PDF)
FREE WEEKLY MEAL PLANS & RECIPES!
(Including shopping lists!)