Monthly Meal Calendar

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In many of my posts, I mention myself or the hubby wanting to put something on our monthly meal calendar. I’ve received some inquiries on this, so I thought I would write a quite post about it.

Every month, I plan out the meals for the month for our household. Right around this time of the month (the last week), I start planning the next month’s meals. I typically plan for 5 meals a week and then 2 days of leftovers. With this plan, we have enough meals made for dinner every night as well as us having lunch every day.

I would say that in a typical month, we usually trade 1 or 2 of the leftover days for going out to eat somewhere, but other than that, we stick to the plan. Sometimes we will trade one day in the month for another if we aren’t feeling what’s on the menu. Here’s what May looked like for us:

May 2014 Meals

Now to answer some big questions.

When do I start making the month plan?

I typically start the last week of every month, because I usually go shopping that weekend. I make sure to plan out entire weeks, so if the last week of the month has some days in the first part of the next month, I plan those as well.

How do I plan the shopping?

After making the meal plan, I write out all of the ingredients for each meal. I then go through our house, to make sure we don’t have anything on my list (no point in duplicating). I also split the fresh fruits and veggies into the first 2 weeks and the last 2 weeks. Now it’s time to shop. I take two shopping trips. The first one, I buy everything on the list, except for the last 2 weeks of fresh fruits and veggies. I freeze all of the meat and everything else can last on the shelf for a month.

Where do I come up with all of the meals?

When I am starting the month planning process, I always text the hubby and ask if there are any meals he would like to make sure I include. I also keep track of every month I’ve planned, that way I can repeat meals if we both really liked them. Other than that, I usually go through my list of recipes and if there aren’t enough, I jump on Pinterest to get some ideas and start filling in the days. I save meals with a lot of prep time for the weekend, and I go with quick and easy OR crockpot meals for the week. I try to spread out the leftover days so they fall during the week.

Why go through the trouble?

Like I’ve said many times in my blogs, one of my favorite ways to serve my husband is to cook for him. I like already having a meal planned out for each day. I like not having to guess what I am going to make and/or not have the ingredients I need.

What’s my biggest reason for doing this?

My biggest reason for making a monthly meal plan is the SAVINGS!! Seriously, it is crazy how much we save! As stated, I go to the store twice during the month. Once where I basically buy everything, and again in the middle of the month, where I restock on fruits, veggies, eggs and milk (we go through the last 2 pretty easily in our house). On average, I spend around $200 on groceries PER month, OR less.

For the May calendar above, I bought food for May 4-31st (because I had planned the 1st-3rd in April). Also, for May 25th, we had a deck party, so I bought extra food and had more than just the 2 of us for dinner. Including that, we spent about $1.25 per meal, or $2.50 for the both of us.

In the end, I know I am helping our family learn to budget this part of our spending and it will most definitely help us someday in the future!! :)

So, What’s For Dinner?

I made us a sweet menu board that hangs in our kitchen. I write the menu out each week, that way I know what I need to do if there is any prep work, and the hubby knows what we are having for the night :) All it consists of is a long picture frame, some scrapbook paper and stickers. Check it out:

Calendar

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me and ask. I’m always willing to help! Also, if you want the nifty calendar I use for our meal planning, you can download it here (it’s from Microsoft Excel, btw): 2014 Monthly Meal Calendar

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2 thoughts on “Monthly Meal Calendar

  1. I love your weekly calendar – very crafty! I also am a meal planner. I have a few years of monthly menus to go back to for ideas. However, I shop weekly. As full-time RVers, I have limited refrigerator and freezer space, so weekly just works better for us. I absolutely agree with you about savings, though I don’t think our savings is as great as yours. The biggest savings for us is how infrequently we eat out, since dinner is basically already planned. Love your ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wow, meal planners in an RV. That’s amazing!! Nice job!! I totally agree with you on the eating out thing, though. We only eat out as a special occasion or if we just want to get out. I definitely feel healthier for sure.

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