Saturday, September 15, 2012

Having a Weekly Menu = More Time & Money, Less Stress

I have been using a weekly menu for quite some time now, but I have gone through some periods where I slack off and am not as diligent at doing it. I can tell you from experience that when I take the time to plan a weekly menu life is a lot less chaotic and I am a much happier wife and mother. I plan a weekly menu for two very important reasons.

The 1st reason is because planning a weekly menu saves me time and money.

Here is what my menu looks like:

Example of our Monthly Menu

I plan week by week. I do a weekly menu so that I can plan according to what the grocery store sales are for that week. For example on week #1 there were good sales on cheese, green peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and cantaloupe. So I try to incorporate some of these items into my menu for the week. This saves money! I also make my shopping list as I plan my weekly menu. Shopping from a list and sticking to your list really helps to save money and time. I also am able to limit the my shopping trips to one per week because I have a plan for the entire week. This is also a great time saver and saves you money on gas.

Planning a weekly menu also helps you to utilize your leftovers. On Week #2 we had Black Bean Sloppy Joes, Beef and Barley Soup, and Black Bean Tacos. On Sunday we combined all the leftovers from these three meals, along with a few other additional ingredients to make a Taco Soup that was delicious. I always use up my leftovers in this way. The amount of leftovers that I throw away decreases significantly when I plan to utilize my leftovers into other meals. This saves money and time!

The 2nd reason that I plan a weekly menu is that it alleviates stress.

When I sit down to do my weekly menu I always take in to account my schedule for that week. Are there after school or weekend activities going on?  For busy evenings I plan to make a crock pot or casserole that I can make the night before or early in the morning.  This makes those busy days run much more smoothly. I already have all the ingredients and the plan for that meal so I don't have to worry about the last minute scramble. Having a plan in place for dinner helps the after school routine go much smoother. There is more time for homework and playing with the kids without the chaos of last minute meal planning.

Having a weekly menu also makes dinner preparation so much easier. Knowing what you are going to be having for the rest of the week allows you to combine preparation for multiple meals. On Week #2, I cooked all of the black beans I would be using for the week on Tuesday. You can cut and wash veggies ahead of time and use leftovers for new meals. All of this can free up a lot of your time, make life a bit easier, and in the process alleviate a little bit of stress from your life.

I love my weekly menu because it saves me time and money and really does decrease the amount of stress in my life.

No comments: