Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A New Venture: Monthly Menu Planning

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.


Micah said...

Wow! That's huge! Be sure to update us on how you like it (vs. weekly, which is what I do now). I would be interested to know if you feel like it 1. takes more or less time overall, and 2. saves more $$

the Joneses said...

You almost inspire me to do the same. Almost. :)

Here's to driving the nail into WalMart's coffin! I don't shop there at all because the big grocery store near us has good prices. It's still not quite as cheap as WM, but I figure that what I pay extra in groceries, I save in hassle.

If you want to list some of your meals, we'd be interested in seeing them.

-- SJ

Megan said...

Oh my gosh. I abhor Walmart. The other night, I was going to run in there about 9:30 and as I was circling the parking lot, trying to find a place, some dude drove in the opposite way in order to swipe my spot ... and it irritated me so much ... I immediately pulled out and went to Kroger, where I shopped ALONE and the nice bag boys actually unloaded my cart for me. That would never have happened at Walmart.