Saving Time & Money: Weekly Menu Planning

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This is something new the boyfriend and I tried last week and I am pleasantly surprised by how much easier it made our week go.

This is how things used to go each night: dinner time comes and we spend about an hour or so trying to figure out what we want to eat/what we can make out of the ingredients we have on hand. Most of the nights we ended up eating pasta (we always have that on hand). Some nights there was just nothing to eat. We had all kinds of odds and ends, but nothing that really made a meal. Trying to make dinner was frustrating and time consuming.

That pattern had to go. So, last weekend the boyfriend and I sat down and decided to plan a menu for a week of dinners. This was something we’d never done before. My parents always played it by ear. We decided to make it kind of flexible by just planning out seven meals, but not necessarily scheduling them.

I wasn’t sure how easy it would be for us to make the list. We looked at all of the ingredients we had on hand and started naming off things we could make with them. At the same time, we wrote up our grocery list, adding ingredients we’d need to buy for our meals. Those items inspired other meals we could make.

This was the list we ended up with:

  • Chicken quesadillas and guacamole
  • Pasta and garlic bread
  • Chicken fried rice and egg drop soup
  • Perogies with sausage and green beans
  • Pizza and salad
  • Eggplant parmesean
  • Slow cooker lasagna

We went grocery shopping once–this saved us time and money. There were no extra trips to the corner store to buy some necessary ingredient for more money than it would cost at the grocery store.

This saved us even more time each night. Previously it was 8 or 9 (sometimes even 10PM) before we finally sat down to eat. We were wasting tons of time trying to figure out what to make for dinner (and getting distracted in the process). With the list, all we had to do was pick was dinner we wanted and then make it. Each night we sat down to eat by 7PM.

I’m absolutely amazed how something so simple could make life so much easier. I recommend everyone try it. Even if you just have to make dinner for yourself, just take a few minutes to plan your meals for the week. The time saved alone makes it worthwhile.


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