How to Save Money » Frugal Living

How I plan weekly menus

Today I’m going to answer a question that I get asked all the time, and that is how I plan our weekly menus.

What I do is fairly straightforward, very easy, and it’s what’s been working for us for the last year or so.

How to plan weekly menus

So, the very first thing I do when planning our weekly menus is, I do a quick inventory of what we already have on hand. I take a look at our freezer, our refrigerator, our pantry, and our giant grocery stockpile that’s in the basement.

I’ll take a look at all of those areas and try to put together some meals from those items that we already have. This saves us a lot of money by not buying random items at the grocery store when we already have those items on hand anyway.

I will try to find a few meals (and can usually find around 3 meals this way, every week), and I will add those to our menu.

For more menu planning tips & tricks, check out my eBook, How to Achieve Menu Planning Success. I’m sure it will help!

To get some additional menu items, I will look at the sale flyers. For this week, for example, Metro has a very great deal on pork chops. I have them circled on the flyer, they’re $2.99 a pound, and I think that’s a really good deal, so I’ve circled it because that means I want to buy it.

So, that’s going to be something that’s on our menu plan this week, because they’re on sale. If pork chops weren’t on sale, we wouldn’t be eating them.

As an example…

On the Highland Farms flyer, strawberries are on sale for $1.99, so I circled them, and inside the circle, I put the number 2. That’s just to assist the cashier when I’m price matching this item (I do a lot of price matching to save time and money), so they know how many I plan to price match.

I like to price match at Walmart because they have everything in one spot, so I can get everything I need there. I like to price match fruit, whatever vegetables are on sale, meat and anything else that’s cheap.

Looking at the Freshco flyer, I am going to price match broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and grape tomatoes. And because all of those items are on sale, I’m going to be including them in my menu.

For spinach, maybe we’ll do minestrone soup, or a spinach pasta dish.. for the lettuce, we’ll probably have some salads with the grape tomatoes. Finally, broccoli is a great side dish.

Whatever is on sale, is what we have for the week.

Don’t forget your family favorites

So, that is what I do to add a few more meals to our menu plan. This method will usually get me up to 5, sometimes 6 meals, if I’m lucky. For the last 1 or 2, if I’m still struggling to think of something, I’ll go through our list of Family Favourite Recipes and pick out some meals.

If I really suck, sometimes we’ll just do breakfast for dinner, to make things easy.

Here’s a recap:

  • I check our inventory to see what we already have.
  • I check the sales from the sale flyers.
  • I check our Family Favourites list.

That’s all I do when it comes to menu planning. It’s very easy, but it does take a bit of time to get used to sitting down every week and planning your menu. Sometimes it can feel like a chore (trust me, I know), but it’s so worth it.

Menu planning is going to save you so much money and so much time!

For more menu planning tips & tricks, check out my eBook, How to Achieve Menu Planning Success. I’m sure it will help!

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  1. kris

    Great video Cassie! Im still trying to get organized enough to make a weekly menu plan. For the most part we are starting to plan at least a few meals a week. Can’t wait to see what your weekly shopping deals are – they are always so impressive! Will you be posting them tomorrow? Keep up the great work!

  2. teachermum

    I do about everything BUT plan a menu. I really should, just for mental relief! Every week I check the flyers and write down the good deals on a simple excel shopping list I made (8.5 x 11 paper). Truthfully, many weeks I don’t even shop but have the list in my purse if I am in town for another reason and will grab what is cheap. The things that we usually seem to NEED are eggs and bananas and it is easy for someone to pick those up when they are in town as they are rarely on sale. Soy milk keeps a long time in the fridge. When there are lots of good sales I buy what is dirt cheap and that is what we eat (though I would never pay $3 for porkchops, I cut the loin that No Frills always puts on for $2 or less!). Produce less than a $/pound is my general rule for most things.

    Frankly I could probably come up with a month’s worth of dinners without setting foot in the store (all dependent on how many bags of frozen veg are on hand). 1/2 beef in freezer, lots of B/S chicken individually bagged up, some pork (dd won’t eat it so I cook it on nights she will be out), fish, usually several bags of potatoes on hand when they are $2 a bag-I often cook up the entire bag into cream cheese mashed and freeze in portions for 4 of us. Rice (for when ds is out-he hates it!), lots of ww pasta, sauce, boatload of cheese in the fridge from the past recent sales….great way to save money by staying home!!!

    But the mental relief of knowing what I will be making for supper is always worth the effort when I do make a plan!

  3. Delia

    Great Vidoe! We do the same thing in our house, over the hoidays the crazyness always takes over and we eat out way more then normal. I am looking forward to a quiet cold winter with lots of homemade meals and HOPEFULLY lots of great coupon deals!!


  4. Shannon

    I was wondering. You said you price match meat at Walmart. I’ve never thought to do this, other then bacon and lunch meat. How do you go about price matching beef, pork, chicken etc? I’d love to know this as I know I pay too much for it when I buy it at Walmart lol

  5. Jen

    I’ve been menu planning for years…and I’ve practically given classes on it at the rink, with my mom friends, etc. It’s LIFE CHANGING!!! It saves you so much time, and money. Once you start doing it, you’ll wonder how you lived so long without doing it. When I menu plan I also have my calendar out, so I know if there are a couple nights when I need supper ready early, due to hockey, etc…then I plan something I can make early and have ready. There are so many cuts of meat, fish on sale each week, why would you ever buy it if it’s not on sale…but so many people pay NO attention to the flyer prices (used to used at a grocery store) Anyway…I can get a little passionate about it. LOL! Definitely a way to save money….even without using coupons. 🙂

  6. Krystal

    I watched the video, did what the video suggested and saved over 51% today on our groceries and meal plan for the next 7 days 🙂 I only spent $48.37 and saved $25 by price matching and buying sale items. I should mention I did not have to buy any meat, except for 2 cans of tuna for lunches. But for less than $50 out of pocket I have 3 meals a day and snacks for 7 days (including dairy and fruits and veg), plus a few extras that were super cheap 🙂 Thanks Cassie!!!

  7. Krystal

    Oops very excited I saved over 34% not 51%

  8. Carolyn

    Ideas for Menu planning………….
    I have a list of “Dinner Ideas” that my family enjoys. It may look like this

    Spaghetti with garlic bread
    Homeade macaroni and cheese

    Chicken pot pie
    Sweet and sour chicken

    Breakfast for dinner
    Ham and scalloped potatoes

    I look at my list while I look at the flyers as it gives me ideas of what to make. I then make a list of to-do’s over the weekend. If we are having scalloped potatoes one night and spaghetti another night I will make the potatoes and the sauce on the weekend and freeze it until I need it that week. That way I never have a big dinner through the week to prepare. You may think you don’t have time on your days off but you can always multi-task 🙂

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