What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, October 07, 2013

Once-A-Month Menu Plan

 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.)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your menu! I have to plan every week, but since you mentioned a monthly menu to save money I really should try it! Also what does your hubby eat for lunches? With five kids and two of them being teens we spend 800.00 a month and that really is lean! It does include other things like toothpaste and such, but I know it can be better! We don't eat a ton of meat either, mostly chicken because it seems to be the cheapest. And I also make soup at least once a week! BTW moneysavingmom.com has a printable monthly menu that I use, love it! Thank you for all your inspiring posts! Jennifer

stephaniegiese said...

THANK YOU for posting this. It gives me so much hope. We are moving in 3 weeks and just getting serious about following Dave Ramsey's plan to be able to afford our new home, which has cut my food budget significantly. We have a family of 5 and my food budget is coming in around $60 a week now, which was seeming like an impossible task. I did the shopping for the first time today and spend $69, which was not horrible, but is less than half of what I normally would have spent on impulses. Sorry if I'm rambling. Thank you for the hope that it CAN be done!

Mrs. Bowen said...

Thank you for posting. I'm inspired to give once-a-month shopping another go!

Amber StepstoSave said...

I meal plan the same way you do, but weekly instead of monthly.

I like to know what meals I can make, but still be able to pick the day.

We eat a lot of carbs too. My husbands favorite food is Italian so he loves pasta any way he can get it!

I wish I could eat the carbs my husband and kids do, but my body will "store" them if I do.:( So I eat smaller portions of carbs and more veggies.

Now that it's getting cold, we will be eating a lot of soup. My husband loves homemade soup, french bread, and fruit for dinner.

Thanks for sharing your menu and giving me some ideas. :) Hope you have a wonderful week~

Gretchen said...

Thank you!!! This is awesome and has given me some great ideas! I see a baked potato bar night in our future!
I am really inspired by your $200.00 a month! Gives me something to AIM FOR!
I really enjoy your grocery financial posts! They always give me ideas and it's nice to know there are other families who really work at their finances!

Rebecca said...

Jennifer- my husband gets sandwiches or leftovers for lunch when I pack them but his job is such that when he is "on farm" travelling, lunch is paid for by the company. That helps us financially but makes me jealous too- I love eating out and would do it all the time if I lived in another world.

Stephanie- you can do this! Honestly, when I had $50.00 a week it seemed impossible to stay within that but even though the math is the same, having $200 for the month and shopping less frequently makes it seem like you can get by more easily. And $69 was great! Seriously- I don't know many people (do I know any people?) who spend less than $100.00 a week. That's huge- and you should be proud of it! Good luck with the budget and good luck with move...exciting times for you!

Mrs. Bowen- I'd love to hear if you love it. OR hate it! ;-)

Amber- I love me some pasta too. I should be more like you and eat more of the veggies and less of the pasta. I pretty much snarf.:-(
I am thankful for soup season too!

Gretchen-Thank you very much! I am so glad to know these money posts don't bore the snot out of people but I find- if I try to keep my head in the game, I don't get lazy about it. Thanks for the encouragement!

Abigail said...

I don't need you to meal plan for me or do my grocery shopping or help me slim down our grocery budget, but I do have one small request. It's nothing, really-- just a itsy token of friendship.

(I'd like you to just MAKE my meals, that's all. No biggie... We eat around 6:30.)

Mary P said...

Your menu plan gave me a lot of ideas for my family. I'm a pretty plain eater myself and get stuck in a rut of making the same few meals over and over so new ideas are always so nice. And all your financial posts are inspiring - not boring! Thank you :-)

NaturalMomto11 said...

Rebecca, I am always amazed at your efforts in your home. It inspires me to work harder on the things I do and learn more of the things I don't do yet. Your menu plan looks great! I think I am going to tweak it.

I am trying to get my budget down but know it will be expensive still because we eat 95% organic. But this menu is doable for us!

You encourage me. I haven't left many comments before but we "know" each other from CMOMB long time ago! LOL!

Well, keep up the good work on all the things you are doing! Your posts are all encouraging.


Rebecca said...

NaturalMom- THANK YOU. I loved hearing from you! Wow. CMOMB was a blast from the past. I think I was on that board when I first got on the internet back when I had one itty bitty baby!

What a pleasure to hear from you and know that you've been checking up on me from time to time all these years!

Rebecca said...

PS. If you eat 95% organic- the best way to save money is to grow it yourself! 11 pairs of hands make light work! ;-)