Meal planning, shopping, coupons,etc

Over the past 2 years, as I have desired to feed my family healthy meals, to NOT dread the coming of dinner once again each day, and to live on a reasonable food budget, I have developed some tools I thought others may find helpful, or have recommendations on supplementing.

These are:

  • A price-comparison grocery shopping list – this grocery shopping list is organized my area (based on my local Kroger’s) in the order I shop. It is color-coded by store (Wal-mart, HEB, Kroger’s)… so if I am at Wal-mart, and I check the prices and find something to be cheaper there, I turn it RED… so if it’s worth the savings to make a separate trip, I will.
  • Meal choices list – this is a spreadsheet where I list all the things my family eats and the recipes for each one… no more digging around in a box!
  • Menu template – this is where the magic happens! If you want to try this, you need to download the Meal choices list first. Then, when this document opens, it will ask to be directed to read Meal choices list on your computer. Then within WORD Tools menu, you can Mail Merge you menu by category (ie. dinners, lunches, snacks)

This is my process each week:

  1. I mail merge all my “Dinners”… then I just start deleting… anything we ate this week is deleted, anything that doesn’t sound good right now, then I try to choose just 1 thing from each category (Italian, Mexican, egg, soups, etc). [could do same for breakfast and lunch… we eat the same stuff for those meals each week.]
  2. I go through the Menu (created in #1) and circle any ingredients I need on the shopping list.
  3. I can then add up the price of the items and see how I am doing with my Grocery budget – if we will have enough for eating out on date night (usually Spaghetti Night for kids on my Menu) and for our weekly Tropical Chill Snowcone runs!

If you have a process, please share… I always want NEW RECIPES and to simplify my process.
If this helps you, YAY!

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