Couponing is only one way to save money on groceries..and while it’s one of my favorite ways to do so, creating a menu can also help you make use of all the great deals you are getting.
I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve looked up from my computer and see that it’s 4:00pm and think “Oh crap, I didn’t take anything out of the freezer for dinner”. Then I’m forced to run out to the grocery store or get take out. I realized I was spending too much extra money due to my own lack of preparation, so..I decided to start a menu and it has made a dramatic impact on my food budget. I rarely have to run out last minute to the grocery store and it’s nice to know ahead of time, what’s for dinner!
There are a few ways to create your family’s food menu:
Monthly Menu Planning – Preparing a menu on a monthly basis is a great approach if you already have a good sized stockpile. Essentially, you look through your fridge, freezer, and dry goods and determine what you have a lot of, what’s expiring soon and you create meals based around those items.
Weekly Menu Planning – This can be great for newbie couponers who’s stockpile isn’t that big. What you’ll want to do is base your weekly meals on the sale items at your local grocery store. For example, if chicken breast and shredded cheese is a good buy, then plan out a couple meals using those items. Then take a look at the sale produce and use those as sides.
Hybrid Method – I personally tend to do a combination of both the Monthly & Weekly planning. I organize my meals according to my stockpile items and then add in the sides on a weekly basis. For example, next week my grocery store is having a good deal on asparagus and brussel sprouts, so we’ll likely have those as sides a few days next week.
The menu you see above is our family’s menu for March. I should note, we are not very adventurous eaters and my kids would live on chicken, rice and pasta if I let them, which is why you’ll see a lot of it on the menu!
You can download your own fill-in-the-blank version of this menu here.