October 23, 2009

Meal Planning

I love things to be organized - from my schedule to my underwear drawer. Recently, I have been working on my home organization; I divided up my chores similar to Martha Stewart's advice and I have organized my menu. Menu planning saves me time and money. Things don't always work out perfectly - life always throws us surprises - but I try to be ready for the "expected."

Here are some things that help me:


Required Tools: coupons, notepad, pens, pencils, binder, and 3x5 index cards. (I get these out every Saturday morning when I am making my schedule.)



1. Organize the week. This planner is located on my fridge. (Pink=Lou, Green=AC, Blue=me.)  Because of my work schedule, my weeks are never the same. The blue strips are magnetic so I can move them around depending on the week. (AC and Lou are pretty much the same each day. They don't use theirs, but I schedule my life around them.) My menu depends on the week. (The nights I work I do easy, reheatable items. Some days are so busy, so we go out to dinner.)



2. Compare ads and/or coupons to see what is cheap. Yes, these are my crazy coupons clippings



3. Make a menu using the cheap items. Plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I make meal cards using 3x5 index cards. One side is the meal, the other is the shopping list. On the shopping list, I write everything I would possibly need for that dish. You certainly don't need to type yours.
*These photo protectors are great. You can find them at Walmart. If you want, you could replace the day label with the snack if you want to plan even more.



When the week is over, I put my meal cards into a recipe box. I made tabs for all meals plus an "Other." This is where I have "Eat Out" or "Dinner at the In-Laws" etc.

4. Review your shopping lists. Make a list of what you don't have already in your house.
5. Be flexible when shopping. If your list says "broccoli" but asparagus is cheap, switch them out. Sometimes there is a great unadvertised sale.
6. Make menu adjustments based on what you bought. If you need to, you can switch out the menu cards.

A couple more items of note:
-I also store some recipes in the binder and place them behind the menu card. It is nice for those helpful spouses who want to help out with making dinner.
-After a month or so, you really won't be making many new cards. It becomes a lot easier!

I realize am a little OCD, but this system is so worth the effort!

14 comments:

hannah :: sherbet blossom said...

you and i must be sisters...

Carrian said...

I do the same. In fact I run a coupon blog. So cheesy huh. It saves us so much money though!!

Jill said...

Oh how I need to get organized.

Melissa said...

LOVE IT

Melissa said...

How do you do your cleaning?

Miranda said...

Wow Sarah, this is fantastic. I always meal plan but COMPLETELY forget about breakfast and lunch!

Sarah said...

Carrian - if your cheesy, then I am right there with you!
Melissa - I have a page for each: daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally (every 3 months). MS has some tips on what should be done and I adapted it to my home. I check them off as I go, that way, if I only have a couple minutes, I can do something. It helps break it down. Email me, and I can send you a picture... or even my documents.
Miranda - since I am trapped in my house 5 or 6 days a week, i have to plan every meal for shopping... not everyone does.

Janssen said...

That is so incredible! Thanks for sharing.

Pineapple Princess said...

I'm enjoying your blog so much! I'm a new follower!

Kristen Farmer said...

What a great organizational tool Sarah! Where do you get all of your coupons? Sunday newspaper, online?

Sarah said...

Kristen - I get most of my coupons in the sunday newspaper, some online - where ever I can find them! In the store, magazines, etc.
I'm kind of a freak. :)

Megan and Taj said...

wow!!! I wish I could do this!! it is overwhelming to me! you amaze me! I have become a coupon and ad nut, but I am not as organized like you... you have inspired me!

Josh said...

orgnization is definitely key. You should check out Springpad (http://springpadit.com) which is an online personal organizer. Store things like recipes from anywhere on the web which you can then input into a shopping list or create a weekly meal planner out of, or write lists or notes that you want to come back to, keep track of your favorite restaurants, etc. It's free to use.

Monica&Kevin said...

'Good to see someone else puts their coupons in baseball card organizers! Do you go into the store w/ your coupon binder? I get some funny looks ;)