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If you are going to the grocery store three, four, or even five times a week, it’s time to change the way you shop for food. By setting aside one day a week to plan a weekly menu and make a shopping list, you’ll reduce your time at the store, the gas you use running errands, and the stress of answering the eternal question, “what’s for dinner?” By establishing menu plan Monday, your whole routine will get a lot easier.

7 Day Menu Plan

If you found out that 30 minutes one day a week could save you hours of wasted time and fistfuls of cash, wouldn’t you want in on the secret? Menu planning has long been used by savvy moms to simply their nightly routine and save time and money. You can do it too with just a little effort.

Set aside one morning a week to plan a seven day menu and create a comprehensive grocery list. As you work, keep the following tips in mind.

  • Towards the end of the week, choose meals that can be made mostly from frozen or canned foods or hearty vegetables like potatoes or broccoli that won’t go bad over the course of the week.
  • Try establishing a vegetarian night once a week. This will save money, help your family eat healthier, and it’s great for the environment.
  • When making one-dish meals like casseroles, lasagna, enchiladas or soups, try doubling the recipe and freezing a family sized serving for use in the future.
  • Use time-sensitive ingredients like fresh meat and fish or delicate vegetables early in the week.
  • Organize your list by grocery store sections. Put produce items in one column, dairy in another, canned goods in another, and so on. This will keep you from having to run back and forth across the store.
  • Have a master list somewhere in the house where everyone can access it. When you run out of long-lasting items like tinfoil, shampoo or computer paper, record it on the master list and add these items to your weekly list as needed.
  • Mix new recipes with tried and true favorites. You’ll be more likely to try cooking something new if you’ve planned to make it in advance and have the ingredients on hand. Keep track of your family’s response to the meal and decided whether or not it’s a keeper.
  • Keep a list of family-favorite recipes on hand (the inside cover of your favorite cookbook is a good place). When you are stumped about what to make, consult the list and choose something you haven’t had in a while. Add new favorites to the list regularly.

The Many Ways You’ll Save

Just how will making a weekly menu plan and grocery list save you money? First, the fewer trips to the store, the less opportunity you’ll have to make impulse purchases. Second, you’ll save money on gas because you won’t be driving back and forth as often. Third, you’ll be less likely to order take out when you’ve already spent good money on ingredients at home. Keeping a few meals in the freezer is the perfect solution for those nights when you just don’t want to cook. A little planning and practice will have you shopping like a pro in no time.

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