31 Weeks to a Better Grocery Budget Video Series: How to Plan a Weekly Menu, Part 2

I’ve stooped to new lows, folks. I shot this right after working out, so I’m still in my workout clothes with “workout hair” and no makeup.

I planned to keep these videos really real so that you could feel like you were just coming into my home and we were chatting over coffee at my kitchen table. But I usually do try to change out of my workout clothes and put on make up before someone comes over. But oh well! :)

Websites referenced in this video: AllRecipes.com and SuperCook.com

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Comments

  1. Melinda S says

    You looked fine. I love all of the great systems you are helping us develop. Thank you for working us into your life!

  2. Kim says

    I love it when people are just real. I have found that I greatly appreciate that quality about you. Thank you, Crystal.

    • says

      I’m one of those people that “what you see is what you get”. My friends all know that when you come to my house, it’s not going to be perfect and my children aren’t going to be perfect and you’re going to see lots of areas we need to work on, but you’ll also know that what you’re seeing is exactly who we are, so you don’t have to try being someone you’re not either! I’m very much about genuine, authentic relationships in life!

      • Erica Gorham says

        I LOVE this Crystal! This is me too. I can’t please everyone, and we are far from perfect, but we aren’t supposed to be. :)

  3. Anna says

    Thank you for this information. I will have to watch the video again to “comprehend” all the information presented. I understand how you make the menu and I think I sort of do the same thing. I still spend too much time on trying to figure out what to make. I also make a menu plan for all meals including snacks for the week. I post it so the family knows what we are having.

    I do wonder, for example, with the Target deals you purchased this week, how do you include those purchases in your menu planning? Do you shop and stock pile when prices are low on a product and then add to the menu planning?

    I might have overlooked something in the video that addresses these questions-I’ll watch again. I still would like some time management advise in how to stream line menu planning and grocery list making.

    Excellent video! Thank you for sharing!

    • says

      Anna: We’ll be talking about practicing the Buy Ahead principle in a later video, but yes, I definitely try to buy as much as I possibly can when it’s at the lowest price it usually goes. One reason I plan my menus based upon what I already have on hand is to remind me of some of the things I’ve stockpiled and to make sure and use them in my menus!

      • Anna says

        Thanks. I like that term better “Buy Ahead principle” vs. stock piling. I like to think of “stock piling” as a preventative measure vs. “hoarding” (which I hear on occassion).

        Back to menu planning, good to look at the pantry to see what you can make. I find that I tend to forget to look at what I have. Need to work on that :).

    • says

      I used to have trouble thinking up meals to have for dinner and would spend a TON of time searching websites for ideas. One thing that helped me was to make a master list of every meal I can fix. When I menu plan for the week I reference my list after checking my cubboards and store sales. Often times, the list jogs my memory and reminds me of things I don’t make frequently.

      • Anna says

        This is excellent idea. I need to make a master list and learn to type things up on the computer.

        Also, I think I will type up my menu plans so I have record of them. I like to hand write things because I tend to do “think” when I have a moment (i.e. soccer practice, in the waiting room at MD).

        Last week, I did make a master list of weekly/monthly items we need so I can cross items off quickly when I make a regular grocery list for a shopping trip. My hope was to cut back on time when making a menu plan and grocery/shopping list.

        • Karen says

          I made an inventory of my pantry and have been using everything up to buy fresh. I have planned my menus around this and have been using your principles for a few weeks now. I am not down to the $20 per person per week, but I am now feeding my family of 4 for $105 per week as compared to the $160 that it was a month ago. Thanks for all the SUPER advice.

          • amy peca says

            Is 20 bucks per person per week what we are eventually going to strive for?..Just trying to get a general idea…
            This has been super helpful and I am now on board and have been watching all videos!, thks so much!

      • says

        Making a master list of dinners that my family loves has been a tremendous time saver for me. I only have to come up with 1-3 meals every week now. The food we buy from local people/our co-op doesn’t go on sale so this method seems to work best for me.

        Here’s a link to one of my older menu plans (the menu plan has changed since I originally posted it, but the concept still works):

        http://www.hummingbirdhomemaking.com/2005/10/menu-plan-week.html

        Another thing I’ve started is hamburgers and baked sweet potato fries night. It’s one of our favorite meals and we always have these items on hand.

        Breakfast is easy – two days egg casserole, two days Peanut Butter Oatmeal, two days yogurt parfaits, one day leftovers or oatmeal. I serve sausage every day as well.

  4. Claudia Matei says

    All I have to say about this post is, I wish I looked that good with no makeup and after I work out!

      • says

        Seriously – I agree with the commentor! You look good and I wish I looked that great! I always have dark circles under my eyes, no matter what, and have absolutely no color in my cheeks, not to mention acne even after 40. You are very blessed to have great complexion!

  5. Jenna says

    Just after a workout & no make-up and you still look beautiful.
    Thanks for the video!

  6. Gail says

    Thanks for all the great tips. Even though I am 6o years old, I am learning new things from this series. By the way, no need to apologize about the hair and workout clothes. I haven’t even washed my face or fixed my hair yet. I am starting this morning sipping a cup of coffee and watching Crystal.

  7. says

    I think most of us know the feeling of hosting friends while still in our workout gear (or arriving at a muddy baseball diamond still in the workday heels – I do that one more than I’d like!). It’s probably a healthy thing, though, right? Reminds us to focus on the person, not the wrapping.

    Another good video! I’m sending them to my newly married cousin in the hopes that her household manager learning curve isn’t quite as steep as mine was.

    • says

      I agree; I’m all about opening the front door when unexpected visitors drop by and our house is a mess and just saying, “Welcome to our house — and our messes!” :)

      • Amara says

        Read a great saying on the wall of a friend’s home: “Please excuse the noise and mess. My children are busy making happy memories.”

        Loved that. :)

    • says

      The dishwasher. It’s quite annoying but if you stop it mid-cycle, the thing beeps until you finish the cycle. I stopped it to film the video and then it beeped a few times. Oh well! :)

      • Meredith says

        I kept thinking the beep was my daughter playing with her play kitchen instead of taking a nap!

      • Erin says

        Oh it’s good to know it was just the video! I was running all over my house wondering what was beeping!

        • says

          When we first moved here, it took me a week to figure out what the beeping was. I checked the oven, the microwave… I was stumped because I didn’t know dishwashers beeped. I guess you could say I’m a bit behind the times when it comes to technology! :)

    • says

      My almost 2-year-old was in the room with me while I watched. Every time it beeped, she said, “Coffee ready, Mommy!” :) (And my coffeemaker doesn’t even beep!)

      • Heather T. says

        I was thinking microwave, ours beeps every 30 secs or until you get the food out, and our coffee maker beeps also, the washer the dryer, after awhile you kinda get to know which one it is! Oh and the coffee maker is a freebee from Houseparty sorry had to add that otherwise I had the old standard cheap one. It took me months to figure out where that was coming from!

  8. Ruth says

    I just made my first homemaking binder and started using the daily docket, cleaning lists and menu planning tools. What a difference! I am feeling blessed already as I more realistic and disciplined with chores each day, I have a place to write down all those last minute “to do” items and my shopping list is ready to go with coupons included! Just one trip to the store each week–ya! I can’t believe how much less stressed I feel and I had no idea how much it would really help to take the time to plan ahead for shopping, cooking and cleaning. Thank you!!!!

  9. Jennifer says

    Hey, just an idea for a video or post…would you show us your stockpile? I just got into couponing a few months ago and am working hard at building my stockpile and for some reason I love looking at others’ stockpiles (is that weird??) Or do you have a large stockpile? Just a thought…:) Thanks for all your help!!!

    • Heather T. says

      Oh I was thinking the same thing! It would be nice to see what you have and how you store it!

  10. Dianna says

    Thanks for a great series and everything else you show and give. In the last few months I have managed to cut my grocery shopping even more with menu planning, learn to streamline even better than I was,save more of my money as well as so many more helpful things. I owe most of the thanks to Money Saving Mom and a little to a couple other great blogs too. I already was saving some but now it has increased so much, not only in money but time and stress too! I have found these posts, hints etc to be so helpful. They have helped me be more relaxed, prepared and able to spend more time playing with my kids. I work full time outside the home but will be changing to very part time in a few months to stay at home with my 3 girls and begin our homeschooling adventure, and being debt free. So Thanks so much and keep up with the great posts.

    • says

      Thank you for your kind encouragement — and congratulations on switching from full-time to part-time! How exciting!

  11. Diane says

    Crystal,
    I’m really enjoying this series. So far it has mostly re-affirmed what we already do but I used to spend way too much time making my grocery list and still need to trim the time down. I also need to get back to using a price book. Thank you for all you do! I have friends ask me how to save money on groceries and I always tell them the basics of what we do and then give them the link to your written 31 days to better grocery budget series because you cover all we do and more! Thank you! You are helping us pay off our mortgage very early and hope to pay cash for our 2nd house should we outgrow this one. God bless!

  12. Lee says

    Crystal just curious as to why you don’t shoot your video’s a few at a time? Wouldn’t that save you a bit of time and give you a chance to have them done ahead? not sure your little camera could hold that big of a file though! Thank you for taking your time to do them!

    • says

      I initially planned to do so, but I’ve not had a big enough block of time any week yet to plan and shoot more than one video at a time (it typically takes me about an hour between planning, shooting, uploading and posting — yes, I’m slow and still getting the hang of videos and YouTube!).

  13. Megan says

    Hey you’re doing better than me! I never wear makeup or do my hair – it’s usually in a ponytail. I’m 25 and usually get mistaken for 18 or 19. :[

    • says

      Well, “do my hair” typically consists of a ponytail. I always have great ambitions to do something more, but practicality tends to win out! :)

  14. Debra says

    Hi Crystal,
    I wrote to you a few weeks ago about our having food allergies which contribute to us having a higher cost on our grocery bill as we need to buy specialty goods and organics many times. You seemed to know that certain people will just have to pay more due to their special needs. Either way I am writing back because although we may never get to spend $20 a person on our foods or even close to that, I have learned a lot from you and have been inspired. My weeky bill has gone down $50 dollars (so far, and still working on it) due to menu planning, getting more organized, cutting out unneeded items, using coupons, looking for sales etc… One great thing is that I now have an auto order from Amazon for the sunflower seed butter that we use all the time, which is double the cost of peanut butter (which we couldn’t use anyway-we can’t have nuts). So I will be saving big there. Also, the Hemp milk which is many times the cost of the dairy milk that we can’t use like most other people, I am still getting in bulk but instead I am saving 20% rather that 10% per case by switching stores to get the order from. Just wanted to update you, say thank you, and share with others in our position.

    • Meredith says

      Hey Debra,

      Thanks for the tips. I may have to start buying our milk in bulk! Whereas no one in our family has food allergies, we buy as much natural and organic products as possible. We don’t eat meat and think it’s important for our health and environment to eat as much whole foods as we can. I am down to 50 a week as well but am getting better. I thought I would add that I got truly frustrated at our health food store at our last visit. I talked with a few associates and even the straggly teenagers knew ever nook and cranny of the store and helped find all of the deals, coupons, and ads. I couldn’t believe that I walked out with gf/vegan cereal for 50 cents a box, dairy free chocolate chips for less than Wal-mart chocolate chips, hand milked cow cheese for less than Kraft, and even free produce by a secret promotion that was going on. I was told that they want you in there
      as much as a big box store wants you! So I am no longer afraid and I just ask away when I go into the store now!!!!

      • Debra says

        Meredith,
        That’s great and thank you too, it was even more encouraging to read your reply and learn what you are doing to save and feed your family in a healthy way :) Certainly ask if you can buy bulk for the weekly staples your family uses and ask them what the discount would be. I shop at a super market & in it’s health market area for most of my goods, as well as have a membership to a co-op in town. They both give bulk discounts for special orders and I found that the co-op was a better deal sometimes. The thing with the co-op too is that many of their food venders are in town or nearby and going to them directly too can save. Happy saving! God Bless!

      • Erin says

        That is wonderful that you ladies are able to save money on health foods and organic foods! Every time I tell my husband that I am trying to save money on our food he acts as if I am trying to give him cheaper quality food but at our last grocery trip we were excited to find some organic brands on sale too. Now he knows that it IS possible to save money on groceries without sacrificing quality and our health.

  15. Christy says

    I change into workout clothes after work and usually leave them on until bedtime. On Saturdays, I work out at 8:00 a.m. and sometimes don’t change until I shower at 4 or 5 to get ready for evening church service. I figure what’s the point of messing up more clothes cooking, cleaning, and getting spit up on!