How to Plan a Weekly Menu {Money and Time Saving Tip}

Menu Planning Chart

It’s 5 o’clock. What’s for dinner?

Do you find yourself struggling for dinner ideas at the last minute or heading through the drive-through after work?  If you do, consider creating a menu plan to help take the stress out of mealtime.

Menu planning is preparing a written calendar of meals in advance. It can be as simple as writing down a dinner schedule for the week or as complex as including breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire month.  Whichever route you take, menu planning helps take the guesswork out of meals, which can be a huge time and money-saver.

Why should you plan a menu?

  • Eliminates the 5 pm, “what’s for dinner” question
  • Potential for more variety
  • Save money
  • Waste less

Tips to plan:

Use what you have on hand: Go through your stockpile and use it as a guide for the weeks meals.  Make sure to check the fridge for items that need to be used before they go bad.

- Use the sale flyer’s: Look at the weekly flyer’s to see what’s on sale to help round out a meal.

- Post the plan: You won’t forget to take something out of the freezer and your family knows what to expect.  You can see an example of my Fridge Menu Plan Chart above.  The notepad also allows for me to make grocery shopping notes or to write meal ideas for the next week based on leftovers or soon to expire items.

- Keep it simple: You don’t have to make an elaborate menu plan.  Think about your schedule, family favorites, and maybe include a weekly leftover, pizza or “easy” night.

- Be flexible: You don’t have to follow the menu plan exactly. You may walk into the grocery store and see beef marked down that is a much better price than the chicken on sale, the kids may have an unexpected practice or you have to work late.  Give yourself a break and use menu planning as a tool not a rule.

Menu Planning has been a huge help to my budget.  I don’t usually stick exactly to my plan, but having ideas already in front of me is a huge time and money saver.

Don’t get discouraged if you break the plan. Remember that the goal of menu planning is to help and encourage meals at home, but it is a tool, not a rule.

How do you menu plan?

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Menu Plan Monday 11/14

We have an easy and quick meal plan this week.  Hubby is working different hours, so my menu is based on the kids favorite foods.

Monday
Chicken stir-fry over rice

Tuesday
Hot Dogs with fries and garden salad

Wednesdays
Taco’s with refried beans and Mexican rice from freezer

Thursday
Sandwiches (heading to the Great Bridge/Hickory YMCA for a Coupon Meet)

Friday
Pizza night and a movie

Saturday
Crockpot Chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans

Sunday
Early Thanksgiving Dinner with in-laws

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Menu Plan Monday (10/24)

I’m trying 2 new squash recipes this week.  Harris Teeter has Fall Squash on sale for $0.99lb through Tuesday.

Monday
Sausage with Zucchini and Mushrooms over rice

Tuesday
Chicken with baked acorn squash (with brown sugar & butter) & homemade mac & cheese

Wednesday
BBQ Bacon Stuffed Meatloaf
with green beans and mashed potatoes

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta with bread from breadmachine

Saturday
BBQ Pork Ribs with potatoes & fresh veggies from Wednesday sales

Sunday
Sister-In-Law Baby shower

Grocery Items
Hickory-smoked Bacon
Parmesan Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Shallots

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Menu Plan Monday (10/10)

I actually have a menu plan ready this week!  Very proud of myself – especially since I will be gone at the Save Up Conference in NY most of the week.  I had to make sure hubby was prepared, so they didn’t have takeout all week.

Monday
Pork Chops with spaghetti Squash – my first time preparing spaghetti squash

Tuesday
Burgers on the grill with fries

Wednesday
Spagetti with Meat Sauce

Thursday
Beef roast in crockpot with carrots, potatoes and mushrooms

Friday
Dad’s dinner out with kids

Saturday
Artichokes with potatoes

Sunday
TBD – I’ll be back home

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Menu Plan Monday (09/19)

This weeks menu plan is based almost entirely from my stockpile.

Monday
Chicken with black bean burritos (I made the chicken with corn & salsa in the crockpot the other night – now just shredding the leftovers for burritos)

Tuesday
Easy Tortellini Soup with bread from breadmachine

Wednesday
Sandwiches – school function

Thursday
Pasta Jambalaya – made with beef sausage (recipe to follow if good)

Friday
Pizza & a movie night

Saturday
Burgers on the grill with fries

Sunday
Dinner at my mom’s

Needed items:
Zucchini

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Menu Plan Monday (09/05)

The kiddos start back at school tomorrow, so I’m hoping to get back on a normal schedule.  I added a shopping list to the bottom of what I need to make this weeks meals.  Everything else I have in my stockpile.  I’m hoping this helps show how purchasing what’s on sale can make meal planning easier and save money.

Monday
Teriyaki marinaded chicken on grill with carrots and rice

Tuesday
Lasagna with bread from bread machine & salad

Wednesday
Turkey Pita bread sandwiches with soup

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Turkey Burgers with fries

Saturday
Crock pot chicken with potatoes and a fresh veggie from Wednesday sales

Sunday
Hubby’s choice

My shopping list for dinners:
Lettuce
Mushrooms
Pita bread
Fresh veggie for Sat.

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Menu Plan Monday (08/15)

I have a rather easy week for cooking.  We have a ton of family stuff planned for my brother’s Army Dive school graduation.  Yes, I’m a very proud big sister :)

Monday
Italian chicken in the crock pot with steamed broccoli, potatoes and garden salad

Tuesday
Sausage with zucchini and mushrooms over rice with garden salad

Wednesday
Leftovers with garden salad

Thursday – Sunday
Little brother graduating

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Menu Plan Monday (08/08)

We have some much going on this week.  I’m not sure how I’ll keep it all straight.

Monday
Leftovers

Tuesday
Heading to commissary with my MIL – will make an easy dinner from my shopping trip

Wednesday
Turkey Brats on grill with corn on cobb (not using sauce from recipe)

Thursday
Beef stir fry over rice

Friday
Southwestern Wagon Wheels and bread from breadmachine

Saturday
Homemade chicken nuggets with cut veggies and dip (probably eat while having a family game night)

Sunday
Hubby’s choice or dinner with my mama

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Menu Plan Monday (08/01)

After taking a break from Menu Planning, I’m ready to get back on track.  We still ate from home for the most part the last couple of weeks, but I prefer to have our dinner laid out in front of me.

I’ll get my chicken delivery from Zaycon Foods today, so we’ll be reviewing it will a couple chicken meals this week.

Monday
BBQ-Bacon Stuffed Meat Loaf with mashed potatoes and corn (Family loved this last time – will post recipe this afternoon)

Tuesday
Rosemary Chicken in crockpot with potatoes and zucchini

Wednesday
Leftovers

Thursday
Spaghetti with ground turkey and bread from bread machine

Friday
Chicken with Mushrooms and Swiss served with rice, fresh veggie & leftover bread

Saturday
Garden salad with leftover shredded chicken from Friday’s dinner

Sunday
Hubby’s choice on the grill

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Menu Plan Monday (07/04)

Hope everyone is enjoying their long Holiday weekend!  We’re taking advantage of the grill this week.  I’ve got 2 new recipes that I’ll post next week  if my family likes them.

Monday
Teriyaki Chicken Wings on grill with garden salad & corn on the cob

Tuesday
BBQ Bacon-Stuffed Meat Loaf (will post if good)

Wednesday
Chicken Kababs on grill over rice

Thursday
Leftovers

Friday
Beef Tenderloin in crockpot with potatoes and fresh veggie

Saturday
Beef Stroganoff with leftover beef from Friday

Sunday
Hubby’s choice

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