With May quickly approaching I am already getting the month of May’s meal plan prepped and ready so come the first it will be ready to go. This means posting it up for the family and getting the shopping list made and done. So if you have been following along this month you should be ready to go with May as well. If not that’s ok. Just pop in over to the other posts and get caught up. I’ll wait right here.
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Posting your meals
First thing I do is pull out my menu calendar and pull the month I need. I will also grab our other calendars and schedules just to check if I need to make any changes. As I talked about in other posts I try to plan crockpot meals when we will be out of the house longer. I love being able to come home from a busy day and dinner is there waiting for me! I start out each month by writing my meals on a dry erase monthly board.
This is the one I use. I like to write it on a “>dry erase board so I can easily make changes to it if need be.
Planning your shopping trip
The next thing I do is look at all our meals for the month and the recipes that I’ll be using and write down all of the ingredients I’ll need to make the meals. If I need multiples of the same thing I will make a mark next to it so I don’t have to write the same things over again. At this step you will also want to make sure to note how many meals call for half of something (ie. Half an onion or a cup of celery ect.). You will be able to save money if you can buy once and cook twice.
Shop what you have on hand first
Once I have my list done I’ll then check the pantry, fridge and freezer to see what I already have and cross them off my list. There is no sense in buying what you already have. While in there I will also glance around at the other things to Are what we might be getting low on. These are usually things like cereal,milk and peanut butter (the things you use a lot of).
Keep a running list
To save time when it comes to planning the monthly shopping trip I keep a running shopping list on our fridge. When we are about halfway through things like coffee, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dog and cat food, cat litter, cereal (you get where I’m going with this right?) I write it on the running list. This way I know that it will hopefully last us until my next trip and I already know what we need before I go to the store. I no longer have to run through the house seeing what we need and there isn’t the oops we’re out of toilet paper or toothpaste because unfortunately these are all things that still need to be bought. Because it stays on the fridge my husband and oldest have been so good about adding things to the list. Now I just have to try and determine what it is that they actually wrote down….oh how I love men’s handwriting lol. But they Are helping me out so I don’t complain.
I try and get my major shopping done once a month and after that I stay out of the store other than what I call the fresh food run to the store. With toddlers in the house milk goes pretty fast and my fresh produce will last anywhere from a week to two (if I am lucky) so I will make a short trip about halfway through the month.
One extra step (optional)
Now I like to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible! The more time spent in the store usually=more money spent. I advise leaving the kids with dad or a babysitter and going in alone. I don’t know about you but I always spend more and it takes ten times longer when I have my kids! I know that this isn’t always an option but when you can. I never would have imagined that going to the grocery store alone could be enjoyable lol. Anyways back to the last (optional) step. After I have my meals list and my running list done I like to rewrite them together and I write it out by section. So I put milk,eggs,yogurt (all of the refrigerated items together on the list) then the freezer section and so on. My husband says that this is a little OCD and more work (it may be lol) but like I said I like to get in and get out. I figure a little more time spent planning is a little less time in the store. Plus I don’t have to keep track of two lists!
You can choose to do this if you like but you don’t have to. It’s up to you!
So remember to…
1. Post your meals
2. Plan your shopping trip
3. Shop what you have on hand first
4. Keep a monthly running shopping list
5. (Optional) Combine your lists
Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen! You are ready to go shopping. Now once you have done all this hard work try your best to stick to your meal plan, otherwise you are just wasting money buying things that you aren’t using. (Money is a great motivator!)
I hope you have enjoyed the meal planning series this month. Leave me a comment below and let me know how it’s going for you or how you plan and shop for your family meals. Plus come back to momgonefrugal.com I will be writting a post on the future about how to save the most on your grocery shopping trips!
Until next time!
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