A Full Month Worth of Frugal Menu Planning

As I posted last week, I’m taking a different strategy to reducing my grocery bill this month. I made out a menu plan for the entire month, and I will be doing the bulk of my shopping this morning. I will be buying almost all of the imperishable stuff, as well as produce and milk for this first week. Then I will be making weekly shopping trips to replenish our supply of milk, produce, and bread. I’ll also buy a few snacks on a weekly basis, so my family doesn’t go on a snack eating binge this week, leaving us with nothing to snack on for the next few weeks.

Speaking of snacks, if you have cheap, healthy snack ideas, feel free to leave a comment. Fruits and vegetables are already on the list, though I have to be careful of the crunchy veggies, as my daughter has braces.

I’m also going to attempt to start a price book today, so I can always be sure that I’m getting the best price possible on the food I buy.

So, here’s my menu for the month. I’ve only included dinner, because I tend to do a rotation of breakfasts that include pancakes, eggs, muffins, french toast, baked oatmeal, and cereal. For lunch we have either sandwiches or leftovers.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

For sides, we’ll have combinations of bread, rice, potatoes, frozen vegetables, and fruit. I realize this isn’t the healthiest menu in the world, but it’s healthier than McDonald’s. I figure once I have this cooking thing down, I can start trying to make substitutes to make things healthier. One step at a time. :)

So, I’m off to go shopping. I’ll be back this afternoon with an update as to how I did with the budget.


By , on Nov 5, 2007
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Wow – how cool that you chose my Chicken Tortilla Soup to be on this menu! It really is good for using up leftover shredded chicken. Please let me know how you like it!

    I can usually only plan 1-2 weeks out so I can’t wait to see how this month long planning works for you.

  2. Lynnae:

    @CFO – I like to try to stay away from condensed soups, too, but they do make for cheap meals.

    @Erin – I will let you know. I’m going to have to substitute frozen broccoli when I make it this week, because our store was out of fresh. Can you believe that? And we don’t have a Panera around here, so I won’t be able to tell you how it compares to the real thing. I know. I’m deprived, never have tasted the real Panera broccoli & cheddar soup. :)

  3. Erin:

    Let us know how the Panera soup turns out ok? We LOVE that soup in our house. I tried making my own broccoli & cheddar soup last week from a recipe I found at allrecipes and I almost threw it out and served ceral instead. My husband and kids ate, but I could barely eat it. It was not so good. I’d like to give the panera recipe a try.

  4. Your menu looks awesome and I look forward to seeing how your meal-planning strategy pays off. I am going to force my husband to try the chicken and dumplings recipe since it got such good reviews (he generally hates chicken) – I normally stay away from condensed soups but this would be so inexpensive and you’re right, it’s healthier than McDonald’s anyway!

  5. I really need to do this, it would help me make less trips to the grocery store, I’m sure and less trips equals less money spent! I’ll be watching to see if it goes well for you this month and may try it next month.

  6. Great menu :) I used to do mine a month ahead and it was MUCH cheaper on the pocket book, and a load off my mind, because I knew what I was going to cook, and as I was putting up leftovers at night, I’d look at the menu (kept it on the fridge) to see if I needed to put anything into the fridge to thaw out for the next night.

    I’m happy to see my stew made it twice on your menu ;) Its a huge staple of ours around here :)

  7. I will be watching to see how you do. I am thinking of going this route, too. Just being a good steward takes an awful lot of planning sometimes, doesn’t it?

  8. Lynnae:

    It’s funny how we’re all different. I’ve tried just stocking up on staples, but if I don’t have a plan, I end up running out to buy something for dinner. Shopping went pretty well this morning. I’m starting to run behind though, so I think I’ll have to put off my shopping recap until tomorrow.

  9. I would love to be this organised, but I hate cooking and planning meals ahead. I am watching all the menu planers this month hoping to get some good tips. The broccolli soup recipe looks tempting.

  10. Michelle:

    I think this is a great idea – I haven’t done the monthly menu yet but I have made a price book (after reading the Tightwad books). It really does help! All those pennies you save add up after a while. Good Luck!

  11. We used to do this! I am blogging now about how we made it work with produce, which was the hardest aspect for me. I’m not a big meal planner, I just keep staples in the house, and make meals from them.

  12. Mika:

    Good luck with the menu! I am the WORST at menu planning. I’m lucky if I remember to thaw meat for dinner that morning. Results in way too many “uhoh now what” dinners around here. But thank you so much for posting the link to the Panera Soup recipe. That is hubby and I’s favorite favorite soup I can’t wait to try it out!!!

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