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Weekly Menu Planner

Borscht to be By Noel Zia Lee of Flickr

Borscht to be By Noel Zia Lee of Flickr

You say that you want to be frugal? Are you tired of buying all sorts of groceries, jars, and spending thousands of dollars? I know, I have been there. How do you keep track of all those meals?

The answer lies in a little piece of geekdom that I would like to pass on to you: a meal calendar. Not just any meal calendar, a spreadsheet. You heard me right. A spreadsheet.

Sure, you could not be bothered about using a spreadsheet, right? I hear you. It can be a pain, until you get used to it. Why use it?

  1. You will plan your meals for the week, and know what you need to purchase. This is so important, yet a lot of people do not do this. Having a plan will help you out in the long run. Not only in time, but in money.
  2. You will be able to make a shopping list. How may times have you gone to the store, only to wander aimlessly down the aisles? It happened to me a lot back in the day.
  3. You can do this with your loved ones. Get them on board with the whole meal plan. They will have an input, so everyone is happy.
  4. You can follow the nutrition of your family easier. It is really hard to follow that. If you are plopping a Side Kick (TM) with your premade pork loin, and microwaving some weird canned corn, can you tell me how healthy that is going to be for your family? You can always mix and match yourself this way, avoiding that dreaded 5-time-this-week broccoli episode.
  5. You can plan out what tasks need to be done. This is critical in the Well Done Kitchen! If you know that tomorrow you are going to need to make a risotto, then you can pull out the items you need to defrost the night before, and do a little of the advance preparation. For risotto, chopping up an onion, garlic and shallots will help you speed along faster the next day. Who needs a Side Kick(TM)?
  6. You can make notes on the spreadsheet. This is critical as well. Maybe something went wrong, maybe your wife hated the chicken you made the night before. Write it on there. You will always have that note, and the next time you make it, you have the note to remind you. Also, it helps on the next step.
  7. You can copy and paste. Now, this is not going to help you out very much in the beginning. Use the menu planner for a month or two, and now dinner becomes even easier to plan in advance. You can just highlight a whole cell, and paste it into your new calendar.
  8. You can print it out. Having the calendar there is a good way to stick to the plan. It seems that having the paper there does something to make people want to follow it. Monday could be Pizza Day, which kind of makes it official.

So, without further ado, here is the file:

Weekly Meal Planner

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Cassandra June 5, 2009, 2:23 am

    Check! :O) I love using my meal planner, I try to do two weeks at a time to save grocery trips (four kiddos you know…) But now that the farmer’s markets have started up again, sometimes I throw caution to the wind and just buy what looks good! But then I DO go home and make a list of what I bought and build a menu plan with that. Mmm, farmer’s market…Saturday can’t get here soon enough!

  • jasonsandeman June 5, 2009, 1:45 pm

    @Cassandra – That is awesome. There is nothing better shopping-wise in my books than supporting your local farmer. I sometimes like to drive off the grid every once in a while and drive in the country. Around harvest time, there is usually small stalls where the farmers are selling extra on the side. (I am not speaking of the big ones, the ones I’m talking about are on the side roads on the outskirts of communities.) I once was able to buy a 50 lb bag of onions for 5$.

    Granted, if I kept those all to myself, not such a great deal. I split them up with family though, and wouldn’t you know it, they lasted until spring!

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