Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan Monday: Rotating Plans and a Price Book

I'm so thankful for everyone who stopped by last week for my first Menu Plan Monday!  It was so much fun!  I'm linking up again over at I'm an Organizing Junkie for this week's Menu Plan Monday.

Last week, I mentioned Kate Megill from Teaching What is Good and her new e-book, Cut it Out!  How I Feed my Family of 10 for $500 a Month Without Coupons. To get started with her suggestions, I made up the first of my rotating menus.  Before reading this book, I always just made a new dinner menu from scratch every couple of weeks.  But, with Kate's advice, I'm switching to a rotation of menus that include all our meals.  For us, this means breakfast, lunch, DH's lunch (he packs for work), and dinner.  I'm also including some desserts.  It is a little more prep time up front.  But, it is going to save me tons of time in the long run.  Instead of thinking up a new menu every couple of weeks, I will just have to pull up the next menu in the rotation!

Kate also recommends having a set shopping list with each menu so that you don't have to figure out everything you will need each time.  Instead, it will be right there waiting.  If you already having something in your pantry (or in my case, a shelf in my garage), you just cross it off the list.  Another thing that takes a little more time in the beginning, but will save tons of time in the long run!  Kate even has some downloadable spreadsheets (have I mentioned I LOVE spreadsheets) that come with the purchase of her e-book to help you get started.  No doubt, I will eventually manage to make them more complicated, but they really are a great tool!

Kate also teaches how to set up a price-book.  I had heard the concept before and had started one a month or so back.  But, with her help, I was able to really get it up and going this week.  A price-book is a list of items you regularly buy (I can just use my shopping list from my menus), and how much they cost at the stores you generally shop at.  This way, you can find the best price and really learn to recognize a good sale.  This is another downloadable spreadsheet she offers when you buy the e-book!

On my first grocery shopping trip I didn't really spend a whole lot less than I would a normal grocery trip.  But, I was also completely out of a lot of staples, not to mention other foods.  So, I pretty much had to buy every single ingredient on my list!  Yikes!  This does leave me with plenty of food, though.  I know for certain that I have enough food for every single meal for two weeks (with plenty left over!).  Before, I would often run out of things and have to make quick trips (where I inevitable end up buying stuff we don't need) throughout the week.  Not this time!  So, even though I didn't spend less on my actual grocery trip (This time.  I'm pretty certain there is going to be a significant difference next time just by looking at my full fridge and shelves), I think I probably saved over $100 just avoiding those "quick trips."

Kate warns that this isn't a miracle, over-night solution.  It is a process that is going to take time to implement.  Just setting up the price-book alone can't be done in a day (at least you'd have to have a LOT more energy than me to get that done!).  So, I'm being patient and working toward progress.

In the meantime, here is this week's menu:

Monday - Stir-fry chicken, veggies
Tuesday - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread
Wednesday - Veggie soup, bread
Thursday - Parsley Parmesan Chicken, potato wedges, green beans, bread
Friday - Homemade 3-Ways (Just in case you don't know what this is, it is a Cincinnati favorite.  Spaghetti, with Cincinnati chili, and cheese.  Yum!  If you are ever in Cincinnati, be sure to try some!), crackers
Saturday - Hamburger Macaroni bake, salad, bread
Sunday - Fish sticks, Shells & Cheese, tater tots

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