Putting it all together: Menu Planning Basics

So you have your Master Menu and you know what your week looks like so we’re ready to make the actual menu. Your going to need a few supplies: pen or pencil, paper, and your grocery store sales ad(s).

Here are my basic steps for menu planning:

  1. Shop your pantry first. You might have the makings of your favorite meal already on hand or there might be something in the fridge that needs to be used quickly before it spoils.
  2. Scan the ads. I try to match my meals to what is on sale that week at the grocery store.  If chicken is on sale we have it two or three times that week. If your favorite pasta is on sale you could make pasta salad, spaghetti, or a baked pasta dish.
  3. Write down the meals you want including side dishes. This will make writing the shopping list much easier when you know exactly what you need.  Money Saving Mom has some pretty great printable menu planning and shopping list pages. They are what I use.
  4. Make the shopping list. How you organize it is up to you. Mine is usually listed in the order I think of the item.
  5. Gather any coupons you want to use. You are more likely to remember them if they are with your shopping list
  6. Go shopping. Now it’s time to put your knowledge to good use.


posts in this series:

  1. Menu Planning Basics: The Introduction
  2.  Menu Planning Basics: Why Should I Menu Plan
  3. Menu Planning Basics: The Master Menu
  4. Menu Planning Basics: A Look at Your Week
  5. Menu Planning Basics: Putting it All Together (this post)

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