I have never been much for a strict menu plan. For our family I don’t think that it is prudent, stewardship-wise, to adhere to a strict monthly or weekly meal plan. I like to be flexible to the amount of leftovers we have, and what’s on sale for the week. About once a month my dad will call up and say that he has a soup for us we can eat that day or in the next few days. Sometimes we spontaneously are invited to another family’s house. We like being flexible.
All that to say, I do think planning ahead is essential, though, in being wise with our resources. The more you know what you will do for a meal, the less likely you are to waste a whole bunch of money eating out. It’s crazy the amount of money you can burn when you dine at a restaurant or even get fast food.
I remember 1/1/12, the first day of last year, purposely eating out at Taco Bell. We spent over $14 for our entire family of five (3 young ones), and we still needed more food to satisfy. I thought ‘I could totally feed our family for $2-3 with a package of tortilla, a can of re-fried beans, and a little cheese’.
Let’s say it costs $2.50 for the bean burrito fixings; with the amount of money I spent to eat out for our family that day, I could have provided roughly 6 meals in. Ugh! Eating out adds up, and plus, it is just plain easier to eat healthier at home; you know what goes in your food. The easier you make it on yourself to eat at home the more money you will save. So keep your kitchen clean and continually empty your dishwasher!
Every family has something that works best for them. Some families aren’t always employing what is best for them on a consistent basis. We all have off days, and weeks, and sometimes even months. Some families do well with a strict menu, and others do well with loose structure. Others like no structure at all. I am sure you have heard the saying, “if you don’t plan, then you plan to fail”. With that said I think some planning is in order to make the best of the resources that God has given me.
Usually at the start of the week I’ll think about what I want to make for the week, also considering what is on sale for the current week and what we have in the fridge and freezer. The night before a meal is often very important. It’s a great time to prepare for the following dinner, whether it means preparing dough for bread or thawing something from the freezer. We do have dried pasta noodles and red sauce waiting for those days where dinner sneaks up on us, and they do happen!
In maintaining my loose Meal Planning Philosophy, I am going to start blogging about my weekly menu planning twice a month in a feature called Menu Musings, Our Loose Meal Planning on the first and third Saturdays of the month. It will alternate with Slow Cooker Saturdays. I will blog about what I think I will do for the next two weeks, knowing that there is much flexibility in my planning.
Do you plan your menus for the week? If so, do you stick to them?
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