Planning a Monthly Menu

by Katie on January 16, 2014

Menu planning is so helpful!  It doesn’t matter how you do it – weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, rotating – whatever works for you and your family is what YOU should do!

I’ve gone about it many different ways – for the past few years I’ve done it weekly.  Now I’m changing it up to monthly and I want to share a little about why I’m changing it up and tips for planning a monthly menu!

You may want to grab a cup of coffee – this is going to take a while…

How to Make a Monthly Menu Plan

Why am I Switching Things Up?

  • Money - My main reason is freeing up money!  I think taking out 4 weeks of grocery money at one time as well as planning/shopping monthly will help me save through the month!
  • Stocking Up – I’m hoping that a larger amount of money at the beginning of the 4 weeks will enable me to easier shop at Costco (for a few things) and to stock up on meat sales.  With weekly I struggled sometimes to stock up on deals when I saw them.  Now I will buy most of what I need that first week and can stock up through the month with the leftover.
  • Time Savings- I’m writing up the whole menu in one sitting instead of four which should save a little time.  I will also come up with a big shopping list and buy all that I can in ONE shopping trip.  Then each week will be a little in and out trip for fresh items.  Quinoa, frozen veggies and fruits, meat (for freezing), and canned goods are all great things to buy in advance.  Then each week I will make a quick stop at the grocery to pick up perishables.

5 Tips for Planning a Whole Month of Meals

  1. Plan Around What You Have – I always shop my freezer and pantry for items to use up.  You would be surprised how much you can pull from that.
  2. Get Inspired – I’ve created a Pinterest board just for menu planning.  I’ve been pinning recipes we already love and new ones that I want to try.  Then when I go to plan the menu I have lots of ideas to pull from.  You could also look through cookbooks, magazines, or menu plans that I have posted!
  3. Take Inventory of Your Monthly Schedule – It’s super important to take a good look at what you have going on before you just start filling meals in the days.  Stick with crock pot meals or quick meals like breakfast for dinner on busy nights.   Likewise, if you have a lighter day/week maybe plan a meal or two that can be doubled for the freezer for those busier nights.
  4. Be Realistic – Don’t try to be an over achiever.  The goal is to plan a realistic menu that you can accomplish.  Maybe that means super easy meals every day.  That’s okay!  It’s better to create a menu that you can keep, no matter how simple, than to create an elaborate one and flop and have to run to the drive through four times a week.  The goal is to keep your family fed – no awards are won for a grand menu. :)
  5. Be Flexible – When life happens and you don’t have time to make the dinner your had planned – improvise.  Make something easy or pull a meal from a different day and switch things around.  I do this quite frequently and it all works out!

Different Strategies For Planning a Monthly Menu

It’s important to do what works for you!  Try different things and see what fits with your family best!

  1. My WayWhat works for me is to take inventory of our schedule and plan accordingly and just fill in the rest of the days.  Everyone is different and like I mentioned at the beginning…it doesn’t matter HOW you plan – just that you do plan.  Because if you give it a try you will find that it’s a life-saver – both in time and money savings!
  2. Theme Nights – I’ve seen a lot of people plan theme nights so all they have to do is fill in the night with a meal in that theme.

Monday – Crock Pot
Tuesday – New Recipe
Wednesday – Soup
Thursday – Leftovers
Friday – Pizza
Saturday – Out to Eat
Sunday – Sandwiches

3. Rotating Menu – A rotating menu is a set menu that you repeat monthly.  I’ve seen where people have a fall/winter and a spring/summer menu and each month it’s repeated.  I think this is a great way to streamline things because your grocery list will stay pretty much the same each month and without having to sit down and plan each month you could save some time!

My only suggestion with this would be to allow for one day every week or two to try something new – so you don’t become stale as a cook!

The idea of planning a monthly menu, or any menu, may seem overwhelming to you, but I encourage you to give it a try!  

It will take a little time to get the hang of things, and there will be days when it just doesn’t work out, but I can’t stress how important it is if you are aiming to live a {cutting back} lifestyle!  

If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment!  If you need some inspiration you can check out my menus for the past few year or follow my menu planning Pinterest board!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jocelyn@Brucrewlife.com January 24, 2014 at 1:27 am

This is a great idea!! Please let us know what your savings are planning monthly as opposed to weekly! ;)

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Katie January 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Jocelyn!! I really enjoy reading your blog! I will share the savings at the end of the month. :)

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