Make a Meal Plan {Day 4}

This is the fourth post in my 31 Days of Living on Less Series. If you’d like to read all the posts in order, go to Day 1.
After taking inventory and then organizing what we have available, the next step would be to plan some meals around what we have. I’m revisiting this book about “cutting hundreds from your monthly food bill,” with the hope that I can gain some fresh ideas to stretch every dollar!
I’m also referring to The Everything Beans Book in an attempt to doctor up some of those beans we’ve got in our pantry!
From personal experience, I think meal planning is crucial to lowering your grocery bill. Whenever I fail to plan, we’re guaranteed to spend more money on food.
I always just use a notebook and pen or pencil to plan out my meals. Occasionally I’ll print out a cute meal planner form online, but usually I just stick to plain old notebook paper. Mostly because it’s simpler for me, and also because I’m usually trying to save my printer ink! What I usually do is get it all planned out for the month and then I transfer the plan to one of the cute forms. That way there’s only one page to print per month.
Here are the steps I usually take when I’m creating a menu:
1.  I usually plan a whole month’s worth of meals at a time (including breakfasts, lunches, and snacks in addition to the dinners). This way, I can look ahead and see what activities we have on certain days, whether we’ll be away from home during a meal time, etc. So, my first step would be to write down the days of that particular month and then fill in the activities we already know we’ve got planned, so I can figure out which meals would work best on certain days.
2.  Next, I go through our food supply and see what we have available and try to plan meals around those items. If there is just an item or two that I need to make a certain recipe, then I’ll add that to the shopping list.
3.  Make a shopping list. Since I’m trying to use up what we have and spend as little as possible, I’ll only be buying absolute necessities.
4.  Post the menu on the refrigerator. This is where those cute menu plan forms (see below) come in! Having the meal plan posted lets everyone know what we’re having on a certain day, and it eliminates a lot of confusion, especially since our older daughters cook some of the meals.
Today I thought I would also share some of my favorite meal-planning resources. I’ve started a Pinterest board just for money saving ideas that I hope to add to as time allows, and I’m including some meal planning printables and other helps on that page.
Here are a few of my favorite meal planning printables (free!):
See you tomorrow with my next idea for living on less!
P.S. Look what I found when I was organizing my pantry–two boxes of autumn tea that I didn’t know we had (purchased at the discount grocery store)! I guess it’s time for a fall tea party!


  1. I HAVE to menu plan. Not knowing what I am making for dinner would stress me out too much. I actually have the Family Feast book. Some good ideas and recipes in there. I also pins some of your pins from pinterest. So many great ideas there.

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