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!