Following up with my post from yesterday here are 5 Tips that helped me when I began regular menu planning.
#1- Decide on a system that works for you.
This would also include deciding how often you want to go shopping or the range of your menu plan (weekly, monthly etc). Your menu plan could be created using a spreadsheet, simply writing it out on paper, or using this fabulous Magnetic Menu Plan Board. (I am hoping to make one of these in the near future, what a great way to get the kids involved!)
#2- Decide if and how you want to shop and save.
Do you clip coupons? Shop with sale ads? This will greatly affect your menu plan as you will want to watch sale cycles to be sure that your menu plans line up with what will be on sale that week or what coupons will be out. Another great tip for savers is to use the Menu Plans featured on Money Saving Queen. I send her the menu plan each week and she does all the work for you by matching the sales and coupons! Makes it easier on you to get your lowest price on items that week! Be sure to only buy what you need for the items on your menu plan, this saves you a TON of money!!
#3- Keep in mind what your family plans are that particular week.
When making the menu plan be sure to keep in mind outings you may have during the week. If there are busier days than others, maybe you need to do slow cooker meals or freezer meals. These need to be accounted for when making the plans.
#4- Add 1 new recipes each week.
This is one of the best tips I believe would be beneficial if you feel you are in a cooking rut. Each week add a new recipe, then within a few months you will have several extra dishes that your family can choose from.
#5- Allow room for change of plans.
Menu Plans can always change someone could be sick, going out of town, or maybe a spontaneous date night. There could also be those times when you get to the store and find such a great deal, you change up your plans that week. We all know that in life things constantly change, so remember your menu plan might change too. In saying this, be sure that you stick to your list when you are going to the store if you are trying to save money unless there is a great sale that should be taken advantage of!
We all have different ways to menu plan, if you have a great tip to share or system that works for you be sure to leave it in the comments!