I mentioned a bit ago that I now shoot for a once-a-month big grocery haul. While it isn't REALLY shopping once a month in its' truest sense (since I still have to make a weekly dairy run), it has helped tremendously in the going-uptown-and-buying-things-we-don't-need predicament I find myself in when I buy groceries every week.
To make the transition easier on me, I made a monthly menu plan. My objective with this menu plan is to have enough groceries in the house to cover these foods and by knowing what we will be eating, I can get them in one trip. By having the foods accessible at home, I don't have to feel like I don't have anything in the house to eat (*and thus, I don't need to feel like we need to buy pizza! Or, go grocery shopping!)
Not to mention, having meals written down makes figuring out what is for dinner much easier on me.
Because we eat so many in-season things, this menu is a fall/winter menu.
(I'll make a new one with spring/summer foods-although it seems like that will be harder given how much we eat from the garden. That will be interesting.)
Some things to mention about the menu:
* I don't have particular days set in stone- I simply have a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack for 31 days. Whatever I choose to make that day (that WEEK) is up to my discretion. All meals are interchangeable (meaning: Day 1 breakfast doesn't have to go with Day 1 lunch unless I want it to.) And if nothing floats my boat and I happen to have the ingredients in the house for something that DOES float my boat- I can deviate.
* This is a lot of food! We don't eat all of it. Naturally, there are leftover nights, which aren't planned on. Having planned for the food and not using it just allows for a bit of extra slack come next grocery shopping trip.
* I am purposely vague with foods. While soup/stew is on the menu often, it doesn't have to be boring because there are so many different types of soups/stews you can make! At the bottom of the menu I included a few ideas for soups/muffins that use ingredients that I have put up for winter. Before each grocery trip, I plan things more specifically.
* I laminated my copy of the menu and as I make the meals, I can cross them out with a dry erase marker. When the next grocery trip is coming up, I can see very quickly what groceries have been used and will need to be restocked.
* You asked how much money I spend on groceries. The goal is $200.00 per month (which is a lot nicer to work with for some reason than the previous $50.00 each week.) That is just for food. Other expenses like toilet paper are not included. And of course, there are times when I go over that. For example, when we have company. Or when I see a huge bargain and stock up on it.
Making a monthly meal plan (even when you shop more than once a month) is really valuable. And if you are interested, you are more than welcome to use mine. Here is a printable pdf version of the menu.
Does you make meal plans? For a week? A month?
If so, do you eat as many carbs as we do? sheesh.)