Friday, September 18, 2009

Menu Plan to Save Money

For the past year, I have routinely planned our weekly meals in effort to save money at the grocery store. Only buying what we need, rather than filling up our cart with impulse buys, has really helped us stick to our budget.

If you've never menu planned before, I highly suggest you take the plunge. Not only will it save you money, but time and stress as well. Just think of all those nights you stood next to an open pantry and thought "I have no idea what to make!" and ended up ordering take-out instead. Or the countless trips to the grocery store each week, when you'd rather had stayed home with your family. Menu planning takes the pain out of all these things.

When I first begun menu planning, I did one trip to the grocery per week. This allowed me to take advantage of each week's sales. However, I have recently cut my trips down to once every two weeks, since statistics show that 60% of what you buy at the grocery store is an unplanned purchase! The less trips, the less money spent. And that can really add up over time.

There are countless websites advocating menu planning with introductions on how to make it work for your family. The Happy Housewife teaches you how to menu plan in her series 'Menu Planning 101'. Organizing Junkie posts hundreds of weekly menu plans every Monday for you to gather ideas. I also post my bi-monthly menu plans over at my home-making blog, Life in #3.

Take slow but steady steps with menu planning, and I promise you won't regret your decision.

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