Menu Planning... Does It Save You Money?

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Menu Planning... Does It Save You Money?

Do you plan out your menu (primarily dinner, I mean) or just pick things up when you're already in the store? If you plan, is it for a week at time.... or biweekly? Or maybe monthly? I've never had much luck with monthly and although I did biweekly for a while, I've found that weekly works better for me.

Do you think planning a menu is a money saver? I'm thinking if you buy too much, it just spills over into meals for the next week... but my problem would be in not buying enough and having to go to the store again mid-week which would probably result in spending more money in the long-run.

Yes I plan our meals and it helps us save because when we go to the grocery, I get exactly what we need for the meals that are scheduled to be cooked for the week. I usually don't go beyond a week because of storage problems.

I like the fact that I always know what I need to buy, too... along with planning out the weekly menu, I make sure that everything is also on my store list. There are a lot of things that I'd just simply forget if I wouldn't have them all written down.

That also saves time because I don't need to go into every row to assure I don't forget anything if I have it all written down.

I always try to plan for about a week, so I have a good grocery list and don't make any/too many impulse purchases. I am flexible enough to change my menu if there is a sale on something when I get to the store though.

I'd love to say I plan my meals weekly, but I only manage to do this half of the time or something. Result: I run to the shop more than I should (usually able to keep myself from impulse purchasing though), and I forget to check what's in the pantry when I go shopping.

As a student however, planning was difficult because plans could be formed and changed rapidly. I also went home every weekend, so if I had planned to eat a certain thing on Thursday, but met with some friends instead, it was usually spoiled when I got back on campus by Monday. Also, there was limited freezer, fridge and cupboard space, so that can be a problem too. And not having a car. Nor any money.

Things will be so much better when I start to work :-D I will have to plan better then anyway.

I suppose it can if you are adamant about sticking to it. I can never seem to follow along with a meal plan. Every day it seems I'm always in the mood for something else and have no appetite for what I had planned.

I often change my mind about what to make for dinner because I'm not in the mood for what I had already decided to have. I don't do that for my menus, though... I mean I don't plan what to have which night. I know what the 7 meals are going to be and I buy the ingredients.

What to have of the 7 is decided in the morning. If nothing sounds appetizing... well then we stop at the sub shop. :-)

If you plan it right, then it can truly be beneficial. It takes a lot of experience though since you'd have to know how each ingredient would last in the refrigerator, and how to cook a well enough intertwined menu that all ingredients would actually be put to use. But it is so worth the trouble to not have to waste as much left over or surplus ingredients, not to mention it saves on trips to the grocery.

At the very least, if you are looking at your spend per item on a given week - you can get a better sense of what you are spending the most and least on, which will help you understand how to stay within your budget overall when you need to swap out food items.

I actually don't menu plan, and for me, this has been the difference in my budget on the savings side.

I shop every other day, or every three days max. I might plan two dinners in a row, but I never make weekly plans. My meals directly revolve around the discount meat bin and the discount produce rack.

I do watch the weekly circulars, and I know my bottom line prices on our typical stuff, so when I see something at my pricepoint, I often buy as much as I can store in my freezer, knowing I'm hitting it at the lowest it will go. But otherwise, no, I'm not a planner.

I've become weirdly creative at mealtime, basing all our meals off what I already have (or we have to use up) and what I could find on sale.

I've also noticed that things stay pretty balanced, even though I'm not always hitting a jackpot of cheap meat/veggies. Because I so often buy even lower than my bottom line price, I feel like I give myself a budget-buffer to buy something at regular price when necessary. (I hate doing it, but the kids gotta eat, right?)

I will say, one natural result of this is that we'll often have different variations of chicken in the same week, or we seem to go on like a beef kick. I'm creative enough to keep it interesting, but there's no real flow or consistent menu rotation around here. Hah.

I think it can, definitely, if you plan properly and thoroughly, which takes experience. You'd have to know how fast each ingredient spoils, how best to store them, how best to make use of the scraps, and how to integrate it into a schedule. Not to mention, having to budget the freezer space. It's a lot to keep track of and it certainly gets complicated and even wasteful if not done well, and that's why housekeeping, when done properly, is considered a full time job.

Menu Planning... Does It Save You Money? | ConsumerFu


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