My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Menu Plan Monday: 10/05 - 10/11

complete with recipes & shopping list!

I'm so excited to reveal this week's menu plan, because I went about it in a completely different way.  Before this week, I did our menu plan by hand on paper - I would find recipes online or in my recipe books and then either print them out or use a sticky to mark the page.  I then compiled our grocery list by hand based on what ingredients we needed.  To finish it off, I would look through the commissary website and scribble down the sale items that I wanted to take advantage of, as well as any coupon match-ups that I had.

There was nothing really wrong with this method, except that I felt it took way too long.  I was also running out of room in the kitchen for all of my recipes, not to mention that sometimes the sticky flags got un-sticky and I would end up flipping through my entire binder looking for the recipe again.  I wanted something simpler, faster, and neater.

To solve all of my problems, I created a document in Microsoft Word that has room for all of the week's recipes and my shopping list.  I always made my menu plan by the computer anyway, so it only made sense to stop messing around with loose scraps of paper and computerize the whole process.  An added benefit is that I will be able to share it all - the recipes, my ingredient shopping list, and my coupon match-up list for the commissary.  To see this week's menu, click here

The way that I menu plan has not changed, just the method that I use.  I still plan our dinners around what we have going on that week, and in the upper left hand corner of each day I note down any special things happening that day that might affect our dinner schedule (i.e. Chloe's training, family swim night...etc.).  The recipe is right there on my menu plan, as well as my ingredients, so there's no such thing as having to go searching for the recipe. 

I also made a separate section for all of the ingredients that I need that week.  This is not necessarily my shopping list, because a lot of things I already have stockpiled.  After I'm done compiling the recipes, I print out the first 4 pages and go scavenger hunting in my kitchen to check off the things that I already have.  This is very important to me, because I just can't remember everything that's in my kitchen and I do not want to over (or under) buy.  Afterwards, it's back to the computer to finish up my grocery list. 

This week, I had 26 total ingredients, but after I checked my kitchen I found that I only had to go shopping for 9 things.  These go under my "Menu Items".  If I'm getting anything with WIC checks that week, I note them under the "WIC Items".  I then pull up the commissary website and go through the entire list looking for coupon match-ups or good deals.  All these go under my "Sale Items" list.  Commissary deals run for 2 weeks, but I found myself going down the list every week because my hand-made grocery list would be crumpled and ruined by the time we finished shopping.  Also, because I only had one list, I couldn't necessarily re-use it since my menu items change week-to-week.  But now that my commissary sale list is on the computer, I can simply print up a new copy for next week and I won't have to go down the list again.

I'm pretty sure that this method saves a lot time, but this week is really not a good judge of that considering I had to design the whole template.  It took me about 2 hours from start to finish, but again, this was including the design and set-up time.  I'm so excited to plan next week's meal using my new template and time myself...I'm sure that I can get it done in less than 15 minutes!


Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm really impressed with the organization and "prettiness" of your list! (I always like to put pictures and flowers and things on my lists too)

I'm also going to add you to my Twitter. I'm Frugalbooklover

Have a wonderful week,


HDMac said...

What a beautiful job you do on your menus and list!!!

Shynea @ Penny Pinching Diva said...

I like the way that you did this weeks menu plan. I think that I will have to borrow your idea and start doing my meal planning the same way. It would make it a lot easier then the method that I am using now. Thank you for posting your revised version.

Take care!

Erin said...

I, too, am totally impressed by your organization. Great job!

And happy anniversary!

Jasmine said...

I'm impressed!!


BusyMom said...

Great format...only, it's really fuzzy on my screen. The menu sounds good. i love the doggie picture for leftover day.

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