About Me

My photo
Indiana, United States
Updates on our homeschooling family with ten children, a handful of chickens, a couple horses, three bunnies, and six cats. Visit our website at PeacefulHome.net


Grocery Spending

Food Only

Oct 2010 - $231.39

Nov 2010 - $998.22

Dec 2010 - $340.29

Jan 2011 - $855.15

Feb 2011 - $203.17

Mar 2011 - $916.52

Monthly Average $590.79

Weekly Average $137.85
Our family's website, PeacefulHome.net, is in the process of changing hosting companies and is currently inactive. Our plan is to move this blog over once construction is complete. Please stay tuned for updates!

Friday, March 13, 2009

2009 Meal Plans: January-May

I just uploaded the 2009 January-May dinner menus to our website. I plan out our meals 2 months at a time. It saves so much time (both at home and at the grocery) and money, that I can't ever imagine going back to shopping more frequently.

When Bryan and I were first married, we used to shop every week. After the first baby came along, shopping no longer seemed like a date, so we started going every two weeks. By the time baby #2 was born, we had to drive further to get to a Super Wal-Mart, so we transitioned to every three weeks, and shortly thereafter, once-a-month. A year ago I proposed trying every two months, and we've never looked back. Start small, work your way up to it.

The first thing I do when I sit down to plan is to write on the calendar all the activities that we have going on. This helps me to identify the nights I have more time to cook vs. when we are on the run. It also shows when I don't need to cook at all due to Bible study nights (when we pitch-in for pizza) or out of town, so I'm not buying more food than we need.

When planning the meals, designate each night of the week with a different theme. In the past I've used "breakfast night" (a great budget-stretcher), "Crockpot night," "new recipe night," "Mexican night," "quick and easy night," "things with frozen meatball night," etc. We eat our leftovers for lunch, but that could easily be one of the themes. Then I fill in down the column what fits in with the theme. It's OK to repeat! Especially with breakfast night, I often use a three week rotation.

I love to try new recipes. I'm forever in search of new ones that will become family favorites. So my menus are typically a mix of new recipes and old standbys.

For breakfast, we have a set menu that does not change. That way I know that I need to buy 9 weeks worth of English muffins/bagels/toast (Friday's breakfast). I prefer reheating leftovers for lunch. It's usually faster and more cost-effective to make more at dinner, than to re-invent the wheel for lunch. We do keep pasta and PB&J on hand for days when we don't have leftovers.

The our food budget is the biggest expense that I can control. By investing a few hours every couple of months to plan, I can dramatically keep our costs down.


  1. you go - i go weekly - i've tried to stretch it, but then we run out of milk and cheese, so i have to go and then i grab apples and bananas, and realize i'm short on flour and yeast - you get the point. I'm truly envious of your ability-

  2. Ok Lainie, I'm totally Impressed! I'm sitting over here, struggling to make a 1 month menu!!! Laurel suggested planning by the month as a way to save money on my grocery budget, so I have a big mess out of cookbooks and notebooks and I'm working on it!!! I think I'm being too perfectionistic about it!

    I have lots of questions!

    Like, where did you get those adorable calendars that your menus are written on??? I love those!

    Do you buy everything on one day at Super Walmart? Do you shop at Sams or Costco too?

    So, you don't pay attention to the weekly sales ads? I've been trying to plan around the weekly sales.

    Do you go back to a local grocery store once a week for milk and eggs and produce?

    Where do you store food for two months?? I don't have much pantry space and store food in my laundry room or under my bed the way it is!

    Wow! I'm impressed! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I've seen the pantry. I can attest to it being impressive. It truly is a gift.

  4. I've not heard of anyone planning meals two months at a time. How wonderful. I liked the idea of theme nights too. Thanks for sharing the great ideas and how to's with us. :)
    In His love,

  5. I am working on something like this myself. Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter meal plan. I would like to know the difference between your Taco Salad, Tacos and Taco plate?

  6. Love your idea! You've inspired me to really plan our meals. I used to do once a month shopping and menu planning but have gotten out of that since I really started using coupons. I have such a stockpile now I could easily go a month without buying anything except fruit/milk. Do you still buy anything that is at a really great deal during your off weeks? Has it really helped your budget?

  7. Some more answers...
    Taco Salad, Tacos and Taco Plate are variations on three meals we love. Taco Salad - Taco fixings with lots of lettuce served over chip. Tacos - usually fixings inside a soft tortilla. Taco Plate - taco fixings layered on a plate like a dip to bw scooped up with chips.

    In between big groceries I try to only buy meat, produce, and milk. And the meat and produce only if it is a good deal. If I stay away from the middle aisles of the store, I save more money!

  8. Tuesday is my day off and I enjoy setting some time aside to visit MPM bloggers.
    Thanks for providing some inspiration for future menu plans. Happy St. Patrick's Day!Enjoy your week