Friday, September 24, 2010

Menu Planning

I think it was a while ago when I mentioned the benefits of menu planning: better spending habits, less stress after school, minimal time spent shopping for food, and reduced grocery bills. What a win-win, right? Recently, more often than not, I just couldn't find the hour or so I need to do this well each week. For the past three months my grocery lists were scribbled on the backs of envelopes, and - usually - I could find them, and - usually - I did remember what I intended to make with certain ingredients, and - usually - I did pull that off before certain produce items spoiled. Well, that's a lot of usuallys. Hmm. Seemed like it was time to get back in the saddle, so they say.

Slowly I'm getting back in the groove. This book was inspiring: Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill

I've used so many of Mary Ostyn's ideas to get more organized and really tighten my grocery spending. I'm not quite down to only $75 a week, but I am pretty proud that with a price book, occasional coupons, and the envelope system I have reduced our family food spending by 50%!

Here are a few freebie tools I've liked using:

  • This beautiful menu planner from Ollibird gives you space for a week's worth of dinners. I love her idea for creating a reusable version by fitting a photo print of the planner in a frame and writing on the glass with a dry erase marker.
  • I also like using Delicious to organize recipes that I've found online.
Do you have any tips for staying organized in the kitchen?

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