31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget: Menu Planning Saves Your Sanity–and Your Budget!

Missed the first posts this series? Read them here.

Not only do I believe having a set amount to spend at the grocery store is imperative for lowering your grocery budget, but I also believe menu-planning is a must.

Menu Planning Saves You Stress and Frustration

Do you dread 5 p.m. because it’s when you have to try to pull something together for dinner or feel guilty about ordering takeout yet again? Do you often find yourself running to the store at the last-minute in a frazzled state rushing through the aisles and throwing random things into your cart in hopes it will magically create a five-course dinner?

The truth is, you could throw away the 5 p.m. dread and almost completely eradicate the frazzled last-minute grocery store trips if you sat down at the beginning of the week and made a menu plan.

Menu Planning Saves You Money

I can’t even begin to calculate how much we’ve saved over the years through the simple act of menu planning.

By planning ahead and buying all the groceries we’ll need for the week in one shopping trip, we save numerous trips to the store throughout the week. In addition, when you have a plan in place for what you’re supposed to be eating each meal and you’ve already purchased the ingredients for those recipes, it’s a lot harder to justify chucking the plan for takeout.

Menu planning is not rocket science and it only has to take a few minutes each week, but it can really make a difference in your life.

If you’re new to menu planning and wondering where to start or how to plan a menu on a budget, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where I’ll share what works for our family when it comes to menu-planning.

Be sure to check out our brand-new Printable Menu Forms Pack which you can download here for free!

How does menu-planning benefit your family and life? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Courtney says

    I was not very good at menu planning, but I subscribed to a cool program online, and that has made all the difference! All my recipes, grocery list, and my menu is in one place!!

    • Katherine says

      @Sarah’s Deals,
      I love your method – it is similar to what I do. My husband’s out-of-town schedule varies week to week and can change at any time. So I might plan a week of meals and then he’s gone. Or plan (and grocery shop!!) with him supposed to be gone all week and then he ends up staying here. Drove me crazy! Then I started just planning pieces and parts around a meat/starch/veggies theme that I can pull together in under 30 minutes and on a moment’s notice. Love my freezer and deep freeze for this method.

  2. says

    We have been menu planning since we started the Dave Ramsey plan. I even measure what we toss to confirm our improvement. To date, we have:

    1) eaten through the pantry for three months, spending less than $200 on groceries in three months;

    2) tossed less than one quart of food each week (the chickens aren’t happy); and,

    3) discovered some really wonderful meals based on what we have versus what we want.

    I got the idea from you and am so excited to make such a pleasing report! Keep up the fine work!

  3. Angela says

    I never did a meal plan before…that is, until a few days ago. I was frustrated because in February I spent more money at the grocery store than I wanted to, but my cupboards were bare (for us) because we were trying to eat through some of our stockpile to save some money. How did I end up spending more money but have nothing to show for it? I decided to sit down and write out some meals with the stuff we already have in the house. I came up with 2 weeks worth of dinners and I wasn’t even done yet! We also have plenty of stuff for breakfast and lunches. Crystal, you are right…meal planning saves a lot of time and money. I am no longer a skeptic and am now a huge fan. Thanks for all your work and I am looking forward to rest of this series.

  4. elizabeth says

    For me, the best way to use menu planning is to use it for planned leftovers. This is a time and money saver for me. For example,I make a huge batch of chili one night and then the remainder of week might be taco salad, chili mac’n'cheese, chili-rice casserole, or frito pie. I do a similar thing with black beans: make up one huge mixture in the food precessor and then use it for black bean burgers, enchiladas another night, and so forth.

    Otherwise, I just end up with a bunch of leftovers. When I plan for them, no one even realizes they are leftovers, bc they’re made into something completely new.

  5. Amanda says

    I began menu planning sometime last year after discovering your site, Crystal, and it makes a big difference! There were so many nights where my husband and I would say, “What do you want for dinner?”, “I don’t know, what do YOU want?” and round and round we’d go. Now, we have a plan and we have eliminated those last minute trips to the store that add up quickly. I feel like I still have a lot to learn when it comes to cutting down on my grocery budget, but I firmly believe that menu planning is a great first step.

  6. Heidi says

    I’ve been meal planning for years and usually try to do it a month at a time. (I hate grocery shopping.) I usually sit down with a list (or a good idea) of what’s in my pantry and the grocery store circular. Then if I see that pork loin is BOGO or there’s a lot of good produce on sale, or whatever the case may be, I’ll plan menus accordingly. I tend to use leftovers as lunches for the next day, so leftovers rarely seem to make it into the plan. I haven’t done much with doubling recipes or freezing, but would like to get into that at some point as well.

    But I can’t tell you the stress that’s lifted when you get home from work, glance at the calendar and say, oh, tonight is vegetable enchilada night. Perfect.

    And my meals do get switched around or changed – right now my husband and I are getting over being sick, so I did soups instead of some of the recipes I had planned. But I was able to use the ingredients I already had on hand.

    Love menu planning!

  7. Megan says

    My roommate and I menu-planned consistently through our first two years of graduate school. It was a financial necessity for us then, but it also had all the added benefits that Crystal mentioned – lower stress, whoever got home first could start in on the meal prep, etc. Now that I’m married we don’t menu-plan consistently (my husband is a very creative cook and enjoys the spur-of-the-moment dinner challenge), but we still spend about the same amount on groceries as I did during those earlier years. One of our biggest savings comes from not eating a lot of meat (maybe 3x/week) and then it’s often eaten as a side dish.

  8. says

    Menu planning is essential to maintaining our monthly budget. I plan our menus weekly but I want to try and plan for 2 weeks to a month so that I can use the food in our pantry wisely. I know that when I haven’t planned a menu and am searching for something to bake;I sometimes feel the need to run to the store a pick up a few things. This is not always good because I may spend more of my grocery budget than I planned. I am looking forward to the next freezer cooking day as I want to plan out and make my menu’s for a month. I will have grandparents around to watch children and that will help with a “happy” freezer cooking day.

  9. says

    As a full-time working Momma, meal planning is essential! Takes away the stress of coming home and trying to figure out what to cook for dinner with all those hungry faces staring at you. With my meal plan, I just come in, put my apron on and get to work. Helps too when I prep some of the items over the weekend. So weeknights are just a matter of putting things together and heating them up – homemade convenience!

  10. says

    I’ve been menu planning over a year now, and it saves me so much time, and money. It’s amazing what a few extra minutes can do. I try to plan 2 meals around items I already have at home in the pantry or freezer, and then plan meals on what’s on sale, and then on what we would like to eat. I keep my plan flexible and allow for anything that will pop up. I also like to keep on hand items for 2 meals like taco soup and spaghetti that I can make in a jiffy, in case something comes up.

    Great series.

  11. Susan J says

    The year I got married I worked for a friend who needed help with the kids/household/driving, and it was great to learn alongside her as she managed her household of six kids. She uses cook’n software and gave me some as a gift. She also is great about menu-planning, and I’ve taken what I learned and brought it into marriage. Like Crystal says, it’s a tremendous help!

    Specifically, and I think I got this idea from my mom’s “Home Management” class I mentioned in a previous comment, sometimes I’ll aim for Italian one night of the week, Mexican another, a crockpot dish on a third, etc. We do homemade pizza one night/week, and that always helps when I’m trying to think of a menu quickly.

  12. says

    Oh yes~
    “Plan the work and work the plan”~ this concept will save you money and your sanity !
    I now only do weekly rather than monthly so that I can work around the weekly ads.

  13. says

    One of my New Year’s goals is to menu plan. I’m still not consistently planning, but it makes SUCH a difference in the weeks where I DO make a plan! As a part-time working mom, life can get really stressful after working all day and not knowing what to serve for dinner. I’ve gotten really good at making quick, low-prep meals like waffles, grilled cheese and quesadillas, but I know my meals are much more healthy and balanced (as well as resourceful!) when I take the time to plan the week’s menu before things get hectic!

  14. says

    I highly support menu planning. It is very important for budget management particularly if your culinary skills are limited or if you are feeding a large family. Having said that, I do not menu plan nor do I freeze. I am pretty experienced in the culinary arts and I have challenged myself to whip stuff up only with the available ingredients. No surprise trips to the store. Most often the dinner menu is decided about two hours prior to dinner always making enough to allow leftover for my husband to take the next day. I operate from a $40 budget for everything plus some bulk items such as rice.
    Our menu this week

    Sunday
    Greek yogurt with granola and fruit coffee and passion fruit juice
    Mexican food at a friend’s restaurant
    manchego, gouda and brie, cornichons, artichoke hearts, seafood dip & crakers, chorizo in a wine reduction.

    Monday
    Scrambled eggs with salami, wheat toast guava-orange juice and coffee
    Turkey Sandwich, cucumber slices & nutella crepes
    Turkey in bitter orange and sherry sauce with peppers & shallots, basmati rice and organic greens salad with balsamic.

    Tuesday
    English muffins with butter and jelly coffee & smoothie
    Turkey leftovers & black beans cooked with bacon
    Braised eel in ponzu sauce steamed rice and English cucumber

    Wednesday
    Cereal with milk coffee & orange juice
    turkey & dill salad over rice
    Steak with ranchera sauce, fried eggs rice & beans

    Today
    Biscuits & Croissants with butter & jelly turkey sausage coffee & juice
    Steak leftovers and fruit
    calabaza, portabella & eggplant in curry, rice and seasoned lima beans

    Friday
    Who knows!! I will take a looksie and see what I can concoct.

    In terms of drinks we have passion iced tea, vitamin waters, lemonade and juice. For dessert we have homemade cookies, fruit, dark chocolate and red velvet cupcakes. I also have lots of granola bars, fruit bars, and power bars which I include as a snack for my husband.

    Happy planning ladies, keep your menus simple, include a carb, a protein and lots of veggies if you can.

    I have heard that keeping a change jar with the leftover money from each week’s grocery trips is a great solution for those of you that must do the emergency supermarket run. It keeps you within budget and it minimizes frustration.

  15. Vanessa says

    I menu plan for a month at a time.It saves money and time plus my sanity.We have four children and homeschool.I am better prepared for the day when I know what we are having for our meals.

  16. Melissa B. says

    If you are looking for additional ideas for menu planning, I have found a website: http://www.Menus4Moms.com. If you go into the menu archive, this page gives you five days of menus and you can also download the grocery list and recipes. It has become more of a paysite but the archives are free! I have gotten so many new ideas from looking through the archive! Just a suggestion to all!

  17. Ashley says

    I feel like there should be somewhere on the site to say “I’m a coupon queen!!” just like on Dave Ramsey’s show! I saved 65% on my groceries this morning – all with menu planning for the month, watching for sales, and clipping coupons…not to mention encouragement! What also helped is to tally up – generally – how many of each “often bought” product we go through each month so that I can really stock up accurately. Things like juice, bread, potato chips I realized that I always bought too little of while it was on sale. I didn’t go crazy with it, but I think that’s what really helped dramatically reduce our grocery bill. Also, it took about 3 months for me to finally feel like I am making a big difference. Thanks for offering such great tips!

    • says

      @Ashley, I was actually thinking of doing that too (figuring out exactly what we use) so that I can plan accordingly.

      Glad to know that doing that actually helps :) I’m trying to take it one step at a time so that I can cut our grocery bill down over the next few months.

  18. Sheila says

    I am so enjoying the increased content on your site! So many people are posting the ‘deals’ these days, and while I certainly still appreciate them, it seems most of the ‘meat’ has been missing for a while. Thanks!

  19. says

    I love menu planning. I try to look in the pantry, freezer and fridge to see what we have first then go from there. I love creating new recipes and throwing things together based on what we already have, so that alone creates different meals and helps keep away from the same thing every week. I always have a frozen pizza on hand though for when things just don’t go my way that day or time gets too short!
    One of my favorite things to do is prechop, precook, or make double duty for ingredients that I can use throughout the menu that week. If I cook a lot of chicken, then I try to incorporate it into a few meals that week. If I need chopped onions and peppers for more than one meal, I do enough for both and store in the fridge. I also make a double batch of spaghetti sauce and save half of it in the freezer for the next time I want to make lasagna.
    Also, I’m not too good for sandwiches, soup or breakfast for dinner for quick and easy go tos! It helps with a busy week or just when I’m too tired to make a meal after a long day at work!

    • Terry says

      @Jenny,
      Hi Jenny
      Would you please post your spaghetti sauce recipe. I’d love to make some instead of buying it.
      Thanks

      • says

        @Terry,

        It is super easy. For 1 batch, I use:
        1 lb ground beef (chicken or turkey)
        1 sm-med onion, chopped
        1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp minced from jar)
        1 can diced tomatoes
        1 can tomato sauce
        1 sm. can tomato paste
        Oregano & Chili powder
        Salt & Pepper

        Brown meat (season with a pinch of each salt, pepper, chili pwd, and oregano), drain if needed. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft. Add another layer of seasoning. Add tomatoes, paste and sauce. Season a bit more (I use a lot of chili powder, but just to your tastes). Turn on low and simmer for as long as you need. If needed, add some of the pasta water if it needs to be thinned out, but we like ours kind of thick.

        You can add peppers and other veggies if you want, but since I double it as lasagna sauce, I find that just onions and garlic is enough. Also, I’ve made it without meat if we are using it with something like chicken parm.

        It freezes well and just double if making a bigger batch!

        Good luck

  20. Amanda H. says

    I started menu planning so that I could have a more organized shopping experience. I used to wander around the grocery store and get things that sounded good. When it came time to prepare a meal though, I was still often missing one or two things.

    The unexpected benefit of it was the savings. I try to menu plan and grocery shop for 2 weeks at a time. Sometimes if my grocery store is running a very good deal on something (fruits or meats usually) I will make one trip for those items and work them into the next 2 weeks menu.

    It is also very convenient because supper time would often sneek up on me for some reason. I like not having to stand in my kitchen trying to figure out what to do with what I have. We often ended up going out to eat because I didn’t have everything I would need or I would take to long to make. Now I can look at my menu and know what items I need to thaw and when to start prep work. I also hear a lot less “whats for dinner?” when my husband gets home from work, because he can just look at the calendar.

    Currently I only plan our dinners, because it is just my self and my toddler during the day, so we have leftovers or a light lunch of sandwiches. I will be planning more though soon, especially in the summer when my daughter won’t be in school.

  21. Sara says

    I’m an on-again, off-again menu planner. When I go to the store without menu planning, I kick myself afterward. I always buy more tomato sauce (or something) without realizing that I already have 6 cans of it in my pantry! When I have written down exactly what I’m cooking that week and exactly what I need to buy, I don’t make impulse purchases.

    And I always plan at least one “eat all leftovers” day per week. Otherwise food is wasted!

  22. says

    Menu planning is a big part of our budgeting process. If we don’t plan, then our meals start to sound like a version of “If you give a pig a pancake,” – you’ll want to make one thing, then that will lead to another ingredient that you need, then another trip to the store, etc. etc. Before you know it, you’ve spent a lot more on your meal than you planned!

    I bought a cute little magnetic chalkboard from IKEA and then made magnets for each day to go on it. It’s fun at the beginning of the week to post the meals that I’m planning on making, and it creates a sense of anticipation (let’s hope) for what we’ll be eating that week. Some of my friends ask, though, if I actually stick to the meals that I post. I do, but often if a day is going harder than I expected it to (I still have a baby who’s not sleeping through the night, so certain days I’m wiped out), I can just scan my list of meals and choose an easier one for that night. I also freeze leftovers of large meals for those times where even cooking something simple feels like too much.

  23. Emily says

    I can’t imagine NOT menu-planning. It is just something I have always done, maybe because I work full-time and I can’t even imagine coming home after 5pm and not having a clue what I’m making for dinner. I plan my weekly menu around what I have in the freezer and what is on sale at my 2 stores. I keep all of my families favorite recipes from various cookbooks and other sources listed in what I call my “recipe index”, which is organized by categories such as appetizers, breads/muffins, soups, main dishes, etc. and it tells me where to find a particular recipe. The main dishes are sub-categorized by meat type and cut, for example, ground beef, boneless sirloin steak, chicken (and then further by boneless skinless breasts, cutlets, thighs, etc). I also have lists of ingredients that are not as common and what recipes use them so that I make sure to use, say, all of the buttermilk I buy for one recipe, by using it in several recipes that week so as to try to cut down on wasting food. My recipe index is a work in progress, and I still have a way to go with it (as we also like to try new recipes that may get included if we like them), but it is the only way I can seem to be organized enough to be able to pull off cooking after a long day at work.

  24. Sarah says

    I can’t survive without menu planning!

    One thing that is really important is that you share with your spouse about your plan and your budget. Before, I had a plan, and I had a budget, but I didn’t tell my husband what I was trying to do and he kept sabotaging my efforts by making additional trips to the store or calling me from work to say that he wanted a certain thing for dinner or wanted to go out.

    Now he knows I only bring $100 cash to the grocery store, and I’m only getting what is on my list. He also can look at my menu plan on the fridge and know what’s for dinner. If he would like a certain thing, he knows he has to tell me ahead of time so that I can buy the right ingredients and look for sales.

    This has made us feel like more of a team, kept us on budget, and eliminated little spats over grocery spending and dinner. (Silly, it seems.)

    Don’t agonize over it, just do it! You will be so glad you did!

  25. says

    I write out a menu plan once a month. This allows me to do one “big” shopping trip and then weekly small trips for produce and milk. It takes about 1 1/2 hours for the big trip then only 20 minutes or so for the weekly trip verses a once a week trip that would take at least an hour a piece. Planning the meals saves time as well not spending time trying to decided what to feed my family of eight. I start with what I have on hand and check out what is on sale. I also incorporate what I am buying into more than one recipe. If I buy a large amount of ground beef, I will make meatballs, meatloaf, tacos etc… or if I need celery for one recipe I will add at least one other that uses celery so it doesn’t go to waste. I do switch meals around if something comes up like a 4-H meeting or a doctor’s appointment, or I need to make a meal for someone. We do some things the same every week: homemade pizza on Friday, soup on Monday, and a big supper on Sunday nights. This helps with coming up with a month of meals.

  26. Beth says

    I tend to menu plan for about 6 weeks at a time, since that is generally the sale cycle that our grocery store is on. This way, it really keeps us on cycle with the bargains and we are consistently replenishing our stockpile with sale items.

  27. Christy says

    Several of my FPU students use a meal planning service called http://www.e-mealz.com. Dave endorses it, and you pick the store in your area you normally shop at. The service is supposed to plan the weekly meals based on what is on sale at the store of your choice, and generates a complete shopping list, which you can modify based on the supplies you have on hand. You tell it the size of your family, how many meals a week you want and pick specific options like lean, gluten free or specific allergies. It is a subscription service, but they swear it is worth it.

  28. says

    I was never a believer in meal planning…until I tried it! You will greatly decrease your grocery budget if you stick to just what you need for your meals..instead of picking up this item and that item along the way. We have found we actually spent quite a bit less…just by planning ahead.

  29. says

    I have to meal plan. I have music rehearsals at church on Wednesdays that go on during the dinner-prep hour. Crock pot meals for those nights. I like to make stuff on Mondays and Tuesdays that my husband loves so that he’ll be more likely to take the leftovers to work with him for lunch. And when I tutor twice a week each spring, it saves my sanity when I come home tired and have to prepare dinner. I don’t want to think on those nights about what to have. If a plan is already in place, I just grab the ingredients and get going on it.

    Planning ahead also makes grocery shopping more purposeful, which can facilitate savings.

  30. says

    I’m going to have to keep a close eye on this segment. I do some minor menu planning but nothing amazing, then again my son and SO have picky taste so it’s pretty much the same 5-7 meals on repeat with something different thrown in here and there.

    I’m really looking to cut our grocery budget down, so hopefully this will help. I was at the store today and realized that we spend on average $9 a week on bottled tea because my son and SO drink Arizona so much that they would probably bleed it if you poked them.

    That’s $466 a year on one single type of drink. I told them it’s time to suck it up and drink homemade tea or water.

  31. Tami says

    I appreciate those printables! I’ve had menu-planning on my to-do list for some months but haven’t gotten to it yet – one of the many things thrown to the wayside with a new baby! So silly because I know it will help me so much. I’m starting now!

    Do you have any tips for getting your kids to eat the food you make? I have two VERRRRY (and I mean very) picky eaters who don’t like food combined at all and I usually make 2 separate meals a night, one for adults and one for kids (and sometimes 2 for kids, because one can’t stand cheese and the other won’t eat meat). It is giving me such major kitchen burn-out, but I don’t want to be harsh and say they must eat this casserole or nothing . I’ve tried and know that will not work.

    Any gentle suggestions that will help me stop cooking two dinners?

    • Emily says

      @Tami,

      My almost 2 year old son will try just about anything but isn’t very consistent from day to day. My 5 year old daughter is VERY picky. She won’t eat any meat except my spaghetti and meatballs. I went through a very difficult time a while ago trying to figure out what to do about her pickiness. Should we have house food rules? What should they be? Should we force her to eat? I read book after book on the subject of getting your kids to eat, only to find out that there isn’t a magic solution. One thing I read that I have really been trying to do and seems to be working is to serve a variety of choices at dinner (this is really my only trouble meal) and to make sure that at least one choice you offer is something you know your kids will eat. So now when I plan my menu for the week, I make sure that there is something served at every dinner that I know each member of my family will eat. So, if we’re having say chicken and roasted potatoes, I make sure we’re having a vegetable I know my daughter will eat. It is a little more work when doing the menu planning, but I’m guessing it’s not as much work as having to cook 2 meals every night.

      Good luck. I know how frustrating having a picky eater is.

      • Meghan says

        @Emily, We offer our son what we’re having for dinner, and if he doesn’t want to eat it then he doesn’t have to, but he doesn’t get a substitute meal. There have been times where he’s eaten nothing for dinner…..but not eating a meal here or there won’t hurt a child! There are a few items that I will allow him to “pick out” of a meal and not eat because I know he doesn’t like them (shrimp, for example), but we just don’t make a big deal out of it and 99% of the time he eats what’s put in front of him. If a child is hungry, he or she will eat what’s in front of them. If he/she knows that mom or dad will make them something else, he/she will resist until they get what they want.

    • Ashley says

      @Tami, No magic bullet to offer…but here are a few thoughts:
      1. Have them help meal plan if old enough – maybe one meal a week 2. Sit down and make a list of foods that everyone will eat and go from there.
      3. If you’re making casseroles with pre-cooked meats just put some aside before throwing it together and serve that (and other ingredients they like) rather than the casserole.
      4. Always add something that they will like to each menu.
      5. Plan a heavy “yummy” snack late afternoon – and a filling before bed snack like a bowl of cereal.
      6.Give yourself leeway to give in on occasion – it will take awhile for everyone to adjust.
      7. Plan! Plan! Plan! not just dinners – other meals and snacks too so that picking at dinner won’t affect so much.

      It’s a major adjustment to thinking approaching kids’ mealtimes this way. It all sounds great and easy on paper but isn’t easy when you feel like you’re starving your children. It’s an easy habit to slip into as a parent and extremely difficult to undo! Good luck!

  32. says

    My husband is the one who spurred me toward menu planning. I am so thankful he did, because it really helps me avoid extra runs to the store. By planning ahead, I avoid the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” dilemma each day. When I lapse, I always regret it!

    Our budget doesn’t allow the extra expense of a meal planning subscription, but there are plenty of free resources online, including the menus shared here at MSM. I wrote about several other “Zero Cost Menu Planning” resources in this article:
    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1938228/zero_cost_menu_planning.html

  33. says

    I have some really picky kids too. I try to make one thing at least I know they will eat, even if it is just bread. I do not force them to eat, we have too many eating disorders in our family to make a huge deal of eating, but like if we have stir fry and rice, two of them will just eat rice sometimes. I usually encourage them to taste something, like one carrot or one thing they do not like, but one son has issues with texture more than taste, so no forcing.
    If there is nothing they like, sometimes I will let them have a PB sandwich, but I do not cook a separate meal.

  34. says

    I love meal planning! It saves me a ton!
    Here is mine for the week!
    Wednesday: Chicken noodle soup with homemade noodles and Cheesey/onion whole bread ring
    Thursday: French Dip and leftover soup
    Friday: Chef Salad, french bread
    Saturday: Roast in crockpot with potatoes, carrots, steamed vegetables
    Sunday: Leftovers, popcorn
    Monday: Crockpot Italian chicken, pasta, salad
    Tuesday: Wild Rice soup, biscuits

  35. says

    my family recently completed a 6 week experiment where we shopped mainly at Aldi for our groceries. the key to the success of the experiment was having a menu plan. not only does a menu plan save time and money, and helps quell the “what’s for dinner” argument, it helped me stay more organized at the store enabling me to get through grocery shopping more quickly. when you’re buzzing through the store, sticking to the list for the menu plan, you don’t have time to “window shop” for all the unnecessary stuff!

  36. Christine says

    I am a meal planner and I swear by the benefits of having a plan! It is especially necessary during sport seasons with my sons. I typically write out the meals I am going to make, checking my cupboards and fridge/freezer first, and try to do an Italian night, Mexican night, easy dinner night (frozen pizza, etc), Soup and Sandwich night, and leftover night. Tuesdays we go to Chik-Fil-A for kids eat free night which works perfect since we have practice and are out anyway!