This is the first month I’m trying monthly menu planning (vs. weekly menu planning). My goal is to hit up certain stores only once a month and then go to the “regular” grocery store weekly for fresh produce, dairy, bread, and other perishables. I usually stock up on meat whenever the local grocery store has good sales, so there’s always assorted meat in the freezer.
Although I think monthly menu planning will save me a lot of time, the main reason I am doing it is because I really hate going to WalMart more than I absolutely have to. In fact, Kevin encouraged me to stop going to WalMart altogether but, after a six week hiatus, I couldn’t justify the higher cost for the same food. The savings were especially huge on canned goods, cereal, etc. Maybe when we get the student loans paid off, I can celebrate and finally drive the nail in the WalMart coffin!
So, if it works like I’ve planned, I’ll only have to go to WalMart once a month. I think that’s something I can live with! I will also only go to Costco once a month under this plan.
In order to make the monthly menu planning go smoothly, I made a master menu (which is obviously subject to change, but is something I will shoot for). Then I made a master grocery list for the various stores I will go to on the “Big Monthly Shopping Day.” Then I made a sub-list for the remaining three weeks of the month, which has three short lists of the perishable groceries I will need for those weeks’ meals and kids’ snacks. Then I can add to those lists when I run out of stuff and need to make the shorter, weekly shopping trip.
Compiling these master lists took several hours and, I will confess, I was repeatedly interrupted and that was frustrating. Maybe next month I will go to Starbucks for a few hours one evening so I can focus better. But now that it’s done, I’m ecstatic that ALL of the menu planning is done for the month of February. This includes meals for two holidays (where I try to have special food), several dinners for company, and meals for when my family comes to town mid-month.
I’m really not a super-organized person. But menu planning saves me from popping a few gray hairs every day at 5 o’clock. So therefore I keep doing it.
Now we’ll have to see how this new twist works out.